How To Get Your Piece Of The Government Airline Bailout

While most discussion of the airline bailout has zeroed in on a $58 billion figure for loans and grants, there’s actually $20 billion more than that when you include Boeing and airline contractors – a total of $78 billion that’s available.

  • $25 billion in loans to passenger airlines
  • $4 billion in loans to cargo airlines
  • $17 billion for businesses that are “critical to maintaining national security” (a euphemism for Boeing)
  • $29 billion payroll support grants to passenger and cargo airlines
  • $3 billion payroll support grants for airline contractors

The Treasury Department has released its guidelines and application for the payroll support grants for passenger and cargo airlines and contractors. It’s worth noting that while it’s generally being reported that taking these grants means you cannot lay off employees, in fact you can still lay off 10% of your workforce if needed.

There will soon be a web-based application, but in the meantime anyone who thinks they’re eligible for payroll support grants can email their request to

You can find the application here. Completed applications submitted by end of business Friday will receive expedited approval. The deadline to guarantee consideration of an application is midnight, April 27, 2020.

The application asks for basic information like contact names, electronic funds transfer details, and number of employees and wage totals by month for several months last year. You select the type of business you are, so Treasury knows which pot of funds to consider you from. And then attach copies of federal 941 tax forms for April 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019. Sign the package, and that’s it. The money printing machine goes brrrr and funds wind up in your account.

In exchange for this support you’re expected to offer “warrants, options, preferred stock, debt securities, notes, or other financial instruments issued by the applicant.” The federal Paperwork Reduction Act Notice estimates that your request for billions of dollars should take just two hours to complete.

Matthew lesko used to advise, “the ones who know about the programs are the ones who get the money!” So out of those of you with a good faith belief that you’re an airline contractor under the Act, who’s in?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

More articles by Gary Leff »



  1. Honestly just stop already. Your ranting over the bailout (whether justified or not) is already as tiresome as your years long rants about the TSA. Has the TSA changed a single policy specifically as a result of your never ending complaints? So why do you think pissing and moaning about the bailout is going to change anything?

  2. I agree. The rants are weird — especially from someone who actually makes a living off the Airline Industrial Complex (including the absurdly generous credit card referral fees).

    It’s also hard for me to understand why it’s so horrible that the Federal government might make loans (not grants) to airlines, under terms that are likely to lead to the government PROFITING from these loans. Remember, the “grants” are not going to the airlines — they’re going to the airline EMPLOYEES. I think this is overly generous — since there are tens of millions of other employees losing their jobs in other industries who will get only a tiny fraction of this government assistance — but it’s hard to blame the airlines for allowing this giveaway to occur. Honestly, if I were an airline employee, I would be deliriously happy that my employer helped me get this money. Of course, since they’re airline employees, they won’t realize how lucky they are and how helpful their management was.

  3. I just happen to have been on a contract for one of the “big four”. I bet you can guess which one, wording it that way.

    I might actually be a legitimate recipient for this stupid bail out. Air carrier contract, cut short… Yeah, worth a stab. Get back a little of what they’ve stolen from me in my working life.

    @Gary – Thanks for the info. Not just an interesting article – useful too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *