Treasury Department releases $2.9 billion in payroll support for airlines

Treasury Department releases $2.9 billion in payroll support for airlines
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The Treasury Department announced Monday that six airlines had reached agreements with the Trump administration to accept Payroll Support Program (PSP) agreements to keep workers on the payroll during the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement on the Treasury Department's website said that American Airlines, Allegiant Air, Southwest Airlines, Delta Air Lines,  Spirit Airlines and United Airlines had all accepted agreements while several others were in the works.

"Treasury also made the first Payroll Support Program payments to passenger air carriers today, disbursing a total of $2.9 billion in initial payments to approved applicants, including two major airlines and 54 smaller passenger air carriers," reads the news release.

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"Treasury will make additional payments to approved applicants on a rolling basis, including to the major airlines that concluded Payroll Support Program agreements today. All funds provided under the program can be used only for the continuation of payment of employee wages, salaries, and benefits," it continued.

Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinOn The Money: Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of emergency loans | House seeks to salvage vote on spending bill | Economists tell lawmakers: Kill the virus to heal the economy Economists spanning spectrum say recovery depends on containing virus Powell, Mnuchin stress limits of current emergency lending programs MORE added in a statement accompanying the release that the PSP was "critical" to supporting both American workers and companies during the outbreak, which has largely shuttered nonessential businesses in the U.S. and elsewhere and severely cut down on the number of Americans taking domestic and international flights.

“The Payroll Support Program is critical to supporting American workers and preserving our airline industry, which is a vital part of the U.S. economy,” said Mnuchin. “We continue to work quickly to deliver this needed relief.”

The PSP was passed as part of the CARES Act, a stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by President TrumpDonald John TrumpOmar fires back at Trump over rally remarks: 'This is my country' Pelosi: Trump hurrying to fill SCOTUS seat so he can repeal ObamaCare Trump mocks Biden appearance, mask use ahead of first debate MORE last month in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Several airlines, including Virgin Australia, have been forced into voluntary administration amid the outbreak due to severely reduced profits, which are expected to last for months.