September 21, 2001 08:24 AM

Congress is set to infuse the airline industry with $15 billion to offset losses and help insure safety on all domestic carriers, reports the Associated Press, but several last-minute glitches are stalling the legislation. The bill provides $5 billion in direct aid, the amount the airlines said they would lose by the end of the month as a result of the government-ordered grounding of flights following the terrorist hijackings of four jetliners, and the sharp drop in business since service was restored. It also offers $10 billion in loan guarantees to airlines that face fewer customers, sharp increases in insurance premiums and rising costs for security. However, early Friday, several lawmakers raised objections over several issues, including how much money the government would be liable for if airlines failed to pay back government-guaranteed loans. Other officials were seeking more aid for smaller air markets. And Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle said there were concerns about taking the airlines’ estimate for their losses without an outside review. Still, he expected the plan to be approved by the end of the weekend. The government also committed $3 billion to help with rising security costs, which will come out of the $40 emergency aid package passed last week. Under the plan, the attorney general would appoint a “special master” to consider the claims of victims on the ground and make compensation available. The airlines still would be responsible for the legal claims of passengers on the four hijacked planes. The package did not outline a plan on how to help the more than 100,000 workers laid off because of the crisis in the industry.

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