WASHINGTON/CHICAGO — The U.S. Treasury said on Tuesday it had closed loans to seven large airlines hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and urged Congress to save tens of thousands of airline jobs by extending billions in payroll assistance.
The Treasury said in a statement the seven carriers were Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, JetBlue Airways Corp , Hawaiian Airlines, SkyWest Airlines and United Airlines.
Airlines and unions were still heavily lobbying Congress ahead of a Wednesday headline for a new $25 billion bailout to keep workers on the payroll for another six months, but industry officials acknowledge they face an uphill battle with just hours left.
U.S. airlines received $25 billion in March under the CARES Act, primarily in the form of grants to keep employees on payroll through September and avoid furloughs.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress on Tuesday to extend the payroll assistance program “so we can continue to support aviation industry workers as our economy reopens and we continue on the path to recovery.” Last week, Mnuchin ruled out executive action to avert airline layoffs.
House of Representatives Democrats have backed a $2.2 trillion measure that would provide assistance to many hard-hit sectors as well as direct relief for Americans. They have been reluctant to support a stand-alone measure that would only aid airline workers.