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Airlines will be required to bring back 32,000 workers in order to get $15 billion in aid from Congress' long-awaited coronavirus relief package

Business Insider logo Business Insider 12/21/2020 grapier@businessinsider.com (Graham Rapier)
a group of people standing around a luggage carousel at an airport: Travelers wearing protective face masks walking through Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images © David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images Travelers wearing protective face masks walking through Concourse D at the Miami International Airport on Sunday, November 22, 2020 in Miami, Florida. David Santiago/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

US airlines, struggling with their ninth month of severely depressed passenger numbers, are set to get $15 billion in federal aid under a tentative deal reached by lawmakers Sunday night, a summary of which was seen by Business Insider.

The payroll funding is part of a $900 billion relief package that's expected to come to a vote Monday, and is similar to the funds given to carriers from the first round of coronavirus legislation, which expired on October 1. 

Since that first $25 billion ran out, airlines have furloughed more than 32,000 workers, according to Reuters. The full text of Sunday's agreement has yet to be released, but the summary appears to shw language requiring airlines to bring back all of the furloughed workers.


Video: U.S. airlines closing in on new government assistance package (Reuters)

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Employees will also be paid retroactively to December 1, a congressional aide told Reuters, and the workers cannot be furloughed again until March 31. Funds could take 10 days to reach airlines, the wire service also reported.

The good news did little to impress airline investors or markets at large, especially in the face of ever-increasing infection numbers and news of a new, quickly spreading strain of the virus out of the United Kingdom. An index that tracks airline stock prices fell about 3.6% in trading Monday, outpacing the benchmark index's 1.7% fall.

Over the past seven days, Transportation Security Administration airport checkpoints have screened 36% of the average passenger numbers from a year prior, according to agency data.

Monday's package is also likely to include funding for airports, airport vendors, and state and local transportation agencies. 

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