US bailout package for airports approved, airlines yet to be decided

written by Hannah Dowling | February 11, 2021
Southwest Airlines Boeing 737-8 MAX, pictured at Las Vegas International (Tomás Del Coro/Wikicommons).

A US House committee on Wednesday officially approved a $42 billion financial assistance package for the transportation sector that will see US airports provided with $8 billion in relief.

However, another House committee is still to decide on the fate of US airlines and concessionaires, with a vote to be performed on Thursday over a proposed $17 billion in government aid.

The package, today approved by the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, forms part of the third US COVID-19 government relief plan, totalling $1.9 trillion.

It will provide $30 billion to public transit agencies, $1.5 billion to Amtrak, and $3 billion in temporary payroll assistance for aerospace manufacturing.

Meanwhile, the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday delayed its final vote on its portion of the package, which includes $14 billion in payroll support for US airlines and $1 billion for contractors, until Thursday.

Earlier proposals for a third national financial aid package under the Biden administration included just $20 billion for America’s transport sector, with zero additional help for airlines or airports.

“This plan takes another critical step toward preventing essential systems from collapsing under the weight of the pandemic and will help to keep millions of Americans out of unemployment lines,” said Peter DeFazio, who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

To date, airlines in the US have received $40 billion in payroll support since March 2020.

The additional $14 billion under the proposal would reportedly keep nearly 30,000 airline workers on the job until this stimulus runs out, on 30 September.

Airlines and industry groups have been advocating for additional financial support for months, with major airlines American and United together informing 17,000 workers that they are at risk of furlough when the current COVID government aid package expires on 31 March.

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