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Thursday airline news: United, Delta, Alaska reveal bailout sums

written by Dylan Nicholson | April 16, 2020

A United Boeing 777-300ER on takes off (United)

The US government has finally revealed how much money individual airlines will pocket under its aviation bailout plans.

United is set to receive $5 billion, Delta $5.4 billion, and Alaska Airlines and Horizon $1 billion each. It was previously announced that American Airlines would land a $5.8 billion package.

In particular, Alaska Air Group chief executive Brad Tilden said, “Our employees are tremendous, serving our guests and running a safe and reliable operation every day.

“They’ve continued to do so through this crisis, to safely fly those who need to travel, deliver critical groceries, supplies, and other cargo across our network, including remote parts of Alaska. This federal support enables us to take care of them through a time of near-zero revenue.”

United shared in a press release that $3.5 billion of its package will arrive as a direct grant from the US Treasury Department while the remaining $1.5 billion will be a low-interest rate loan.

As part of the program, United Airlines Holdings expects to issue warrants to purchase approximately 4.6 million shares of the company’s common stock to the federal government.

United also expressed gratitude for the bailout. United Airlines spokesman Frank Benenati said, “We thank Congress and the administration for quickly passing legislation to protect the paychecks of tens of thousands of United Airlines employees and look forward to completing the final agreements with the Treasury Department in the next few days.

“These funds will cover a portion of our pay and benefits costs through September 30, and we are thankful for the support provided to our employees and their families by the CARES Act.”

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In other airline news:

  • On Wednesday, 15 April, Singapore Airlines released its March performance measurements outlining overall, the Singapore Airlines Group saw a 64.8 per cent decline in passenger numbers. Since the end of March, short-term and transit passengers have been prohibited from passing through Singapore.
  • In response to rising demand for medical supplies, Delta Air Lines has announced that it will expand its flights to Shanghai. The carrier will add four additional nonstop cargo only Airbus A350 flights between Detroit and Los Angeles to the Chinese gateway.
  • Budget carrier Norwegian Air has told its UK employees that it does not have the funds to pay April wages. Employees were previously told to expect pay cuts and redundancies as the airline tries to survive the current downturn in travel demand.
  • Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith has told local media this week that he is anticipating the retirement of the rest of the A380s in the Air France fleet. One aircraft was already removed earlier this year, and with no demand for travel now and a predicted slow recovery, it’s unlikely the giant jumbo will have a role in the near future.
  • Spain is prohibiting Iran’s Mahan Air from landing at its airports. The airline had been flying into Barcelona but had to quit the route in late March when Spain suddenly cancelled the airline’s licence.

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