Trump seeks to stamp out airline bailout talk
By: SAM MINTZ, Theodoric Meyer contributed to this report.
President Donald Trump. | Drew Angerer/Getty Images
President Donald Trump sought to squelch talk Wednesday about any potential bailout for the airline industry, which has seen flagging ticket sales amid growing fears about the spread of the coronavirus.
So far, the airline industry has yet to publicly indicate it wants such a thing, but there is precedent for it — after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, President George W. Bush signed into law a $15 billion package which lawmakers said at the time it was necessary to help keep several major air carriers from collapsing. Airlines for America, the trade group for major U.S. airlines, did not response to a request for comment.
The president's remarks came as business leaders Wednesday also sought to downplay the need for any financial assistance for the airline industry. Instead, they called on Americans to stop canceling conferences and plane tickets, projecting confidence in the travel and airline industry's ability to rebound despite depressed sales.
"We don’t need any bailouts here," said Tom Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at a press conference. "There are a lot of regional airlines and others that are critical. If they get in some amount of difficulty, we’d figure out a way to bring assets together to keep them flying. But the bottom line is we’re going to run just like business as usual, with a little higher heartbeat, and get it done."