President Donald Trump on Wednesday expressed support for a plan to provide another $25 billion in federal aid to U.S. airlines, which have been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.
Bipartisan support is building for the additional aid for one of the sectors hardest hit by the coronavirus. U.S. airlines have warned more than 70,000 of their workers that their jobs are at risk when the current round of aid expires in the fall.
More than a dozen Republican senators earlier Wednesday said they backed the extension of aid for U.S. carriers to support their payrolls while travel demand remains limited because of the virus, causing mounting financial losses. The new proposal, which comes as Congress wrestles with how to put together another national coronavirus relief package, already has support from the majority of the House.
“I think it’s very important that we keep the airlines going,” Trump said in a White House press briefing when asked whether he supported the proposal for the extension of the aid. “We don’t want to lose our airlines. If they’re looking at that, whether they’re Republican or Democrat, I’d be certainly in favor. We can’t lose our transportation system.”
Congress set aside $25 billion to U.S. passenger carriers in the $2.2 trillion CARES Act in March on the condition that they wouldn’t cut jobs through Sept. 30. The new proposal would extend those protections through the end of March 2021.
Airline shares gained in postmarket trading after Trump’s comments with American Airlines up close to 6% while United Airlines and Delta Air Lines each trading more than 3% higher.