U.S. says Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, United, Southwest seek COVID aid

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five additional U.S. air carriers – Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines – plan to seek federal loans amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Treasury said on Tuesday.

The airlines had signed letters of intent regarding the terms under which they could receive U.S. funds under coronavirus relief law known as the CARES Act, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

“We look forward to working with the airlines to finalize agreements and provide the airlines the ability to access these loans if they so choose,” he said.

Four other airlines – American, Frontier, Hawaiian and Sky West – had already sought out federal aid under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the department said last week.

National lockdowns amid the global coronavirus pandemic has crippled the industry, although travel has picked up in some areas as economies open up.

Airlines have until Sept. 30 to decide whether to take the loan and can furlough or eliminate jobs starting Oct. 1.

(Reporting by Susan Heavey; Editing by Doina Chiacu and Nick Zieminski)