September 1, 2020

Breaking Down the $32 Billion of Airline Industry Payroll Support in Coronavirus Relief Legislation

On March 27, 2020, the president signed into law the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the third phase of legislation designed to lessen the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One important component of the CARES Act is the Payroll Support to Air Carriers and Contractors program, which provides up to $32 billion in federal aid to maintain employment in the airline industry by providing funds to cover employee wages, salaries, and benefits. The funding has been allocated to three types of businesses:

  • $25 billion to passenger air carriers
  • $4 billion to cargo air carriers
  • $3 billion to certain contractors providing services to air carriers

Upon successful application, an employer can receive assistance equal to the full amount paid to its employees between April and September 2019. In exchange, the airlines must avoid layoffs and furloughs through the end of September 2020.

In addition to payroll support, the CARES Act also provides up to $29 billion for loans and loan guarantees to passenger and cargo air carriers.

As of August 27, 2020, the Treasury has disbursed almost $27 billion of the total $32 billion allocated to the program.

Almost 40 percent of the funding provided for airline industry payroll support in the CARES Act has been disbursed.


Related: Here’s Everything Congress Has Done To Respond To The Coronavirus So Far

Image credit: Photo by Rob Carr / Getty Images


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