March 31 (UPI) -- American Airlines is seeking $12 billion in loans and grants from the U.S. government, and says it won't furlough employees for the next six months during the coronavirus health crisis.
In a memo sent to employees from CEO Doug Parker and President Robert Isom, the U.S. carrier said it will seek the funding as part of the $50 billion pot set aside for airline industry bailouts that's included with the $2.2 trillion economic relief bill passed by Congress and signed by President Donald Trump last week.
Parker and Isom said, with the government help, they're confident American will "fly through even the worst of potential future scenarios."
To receive the rescue funding, carriers must not furlough workers or cut their pay rates through Sept. 30. It allows for equity stakes for the federal government and requires carriers to maintain certain air routes.
American is the world's largest airline by fleet size, passenger traffic and revenue passenger miles. It and other airlines are offering partially paid, voluntary leaves of absence to workers as traveler demand has evaporated due to the pandemic. Three out of every four Americans are presently subject to municipally ordered lockdowns.
Monday, American said it's extending no-fee travel changes for flyers who bought fares through April 30.
Also Monday, low-cost carrier Spirit Airlines said it's canceling all flights to and from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned against all non-essential travel in the region.
Spirit said it's suspending service to New York City's LaGuardia Airport, Newark, N.J., Hartford, Conn., and Plattsburgh, N.Y., through at least May 4.