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Airlines appear to come up short in bid to win cash grants in rescue package


A LAST-DITCH effort by the chief executives of major US airlines to try to win cash grants to weather the coronavirus crisis looked to be unsuccessful, four congressional aides and airline officials said late on Saturday.

Airlines had made a last ditch plea urging that US$29 billion of US$58 billion sought in assistance for airlines be in the form of cash grants. They had offered not to make any job cuts through Aug 31 if they won the cash and to accept restrictions on executive pay and to forgo paying dividends or stock buybacks.

The CEOs of 10 US passenger and cargo carriers had said in a letter that without direct cash assistance, "draconian measures" such as furloughs may be necessary.

Airlines are expected to soon turn their attention to applying for government collateralised loans and the terms the legislation will include. The initial Republican plan said the US Treasury could demand stock, warrants or options as part of any airline loans.

The global Covid-19 outbreak has forced airlines to cancel tens of thousands of flights and resulted in massive revenue losses. REUTERS

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