Airlines Seek Over $50 Billion Bailout to Avoid Collapse

Per Reuters, Major U.S. airlines sought a government bailout of more than $50 billion as the White House is urgently drafting a financial assistance package in the wake of the steep falloff in U.S. travel demand sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

Thehour reports Casinos have joined the airline industry in asking Congress for emergency financial help as Las Vegas and other tourist destinations take a severe financial hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

The requested aid for the casino companies, raised by lobbyists in recent days, could come in the form of a comprehensive bailout package, similar to what lawmakers may provide to airlines, cruise companies and the hospitality industry.

Other possibilities include direct cash payments, deferred taxes, or special bankruptcy protections, said two people with knowledge of the conversations, who were not authorized to speak publicly.

One person said that on a strategy call Monday with members of the American Gaming Association, which represents the industry, a representative of Wynn Resorts raised the possibility of the industry seeking cash payments. Wynn Resorts was previously run by one of President Donald Trump’s biggest political donors, Steve Wynn, though he resigned from his post in 2018. A Wynn Resorts representative did not respond to requests for comment.

The American Gaming Association issued a statement to The Washington Post on Monday, saying that with the $260 billion industry at a “near standstill,” additional funds are needed to support casino companies and their employees.

“As state governments close casinos as a part of the urgent public health response to COVID-19, elected leaders should move just as urgently to support the workers and businesses who will bear the brunt of those effects,” said the AGA, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. “Our immediate priorities are actions that provide liquidity to allow us to support employees.”