FILE PHOTO: American Airlines passenger plane (L) parked due to flight reductions made to slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at Tulsa International Airport in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S. March 23, 2020. The planes on the right are 737 MAX, parked for reasons other than the coronavirus. REUTERS/Nick Oxford/File Photo
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Treasury Department has disbursed $9.5 billion in additional funds from the Payroll Support Program to U.S. air carriers, bringing to $12.4 billion the amount of funds provided to the sector hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, the department said on Saturday.
“Since announcing the first Payroll Support Program payments to passenger air carriers on April 20, Treasury has disbursed an additional $9.5 billion in initial payments to approved applicants, including an additional 8 major airlines and 29 smaller passenger air carriers,” the department said in a statement.
A total of 93 air carriers have received funds from the program since the first disbursements were made to passenger carriers on April 20 for a total of $12.4 billion, and additional money will continue to be provided to approved applicants “on a rolling basis,” it said.
The funds can be used only for employee wages, salaries and benefits, it said.
The department also said that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin determined that air cargo carriers that receive $50 million or less of payroll support and contractors that receive $37.5 million or less of such assistance “will not be required to provide financial instruments as appropriate compensation” for support.
Reporting by Jonathan Landay; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama