MIAMI (CBSMiami) – With travel coming to a standstill because of the coronavirus, airlines could lose a quarter trillion dollars in revenue in 2020.
Planes are grounded at tarmacs all over the country and operational aircraft aren’t getting filled.
“Approximately 10 people on the flight,” said traveler Judy Abel.
Jordan Hamilton had a similar experience.
“We had a about 8 or 9 people on our plane,” he said.
Passenger volume is down 85% or more and airlines are canceling up 80% of flight schedules for the coming months.
Locally, the LATAM Airlines Group announced it would be temporarily suspending additional international services until April 30.
Airlines are losing money on every flight. Many of the 750,000 airline employees were at risk without government help.
The stimulus bill that passed offers airlines up to 50 billion in aid.
“It is a lifeline with strings attached… without this government, we would have seen layoffs, for one, at almost every airline,” said Henry Harteveldt with the Atmosphere Research Group. “And there are some airlines that might have said, ‘This is too much, we can’t make it.’”
The $50 billion airline bailout breaks down as $25 billion in loans that could see the government take an ownership stake in carriers.
The other half is grants to pay employees through September, but airlines must agree to no furloughs or layoffs.
Other conditions to access the money include maintaining service to current U.S. destinations and limiting executive compensation, dividends and stock buybacks.
“We care confident those funds, along with our relatively high available cash position, will allow us to ride through even the worst of potential future scenarios,” said American Airlines CEO Doug Parker in a video to employees.