Airlines For America, a trade group representing U.S. airlines, has asked the government for more than $50 billion in direct financial aid and loan guarantees in response to COVID-19’s financial impacts. In a statement issued today, A4A said, “This is an extremely fluid situation that is evolving rapidly. The rapid spread of COVID-19, along with the government and business-imposed restrictions on air travel, are having an unprecedented and debilitating impact on U.S. airlines. This crisis hit a previously robust, healthy industry at lightning speed and we remain concerned that the impacts of this crisis will continue to worsen.”
The trade group says that U.S. airlines are “in need of immediate assistance” and proposed a combination of grants, loans and tax relief “as the current economic environment is simply not sustainable. This is compounded by the fact that the crisis does not appear to have an end in sight.” “This is a today problem, not a tomorrow problem. It requires urgent action,” said A4A President and CEO Nicholas E. Calio.
In its proposal, A4A suggests some $25 billion be set aside to support passenger airlines and another $4 billion to support cargo operations. The group is also setting the stage for an additional $29 billion in loan guarantees. As for tax relief, A4A is requesting a temporary repeal of federal excise taxes on Part 121 air carriers through the end of 2021. A4A is also requesting that carriers have the refund of the “federal excise taxes paid into the Airport and Airway Trust Fund (AATF) that have been remitted to the U.S. Government beginning January 1, 2020 through March 31, 2020.”