Hawaiian Airlines, forced to drastically reduce its operations during the coronavirus pandemic, could secure as much as $654 million in federal aid.

The airline's application under the Cares Act can yield roughly $290 million in payroll support and additional loans, Hawaiian Airlines president and CEO Peter Ingram said during an April 20 meeting of Hawaii House Select Committee on Covid-19 Economic and Financial Preparedness. Additionally, the carrier has applied for $364 million as a five-year loan.

One stipulation of the payroll support is that the company cannot execute any involuntary furloughs through September. Approximately $57 million of funds from the Cares Act application will come in the form of a low-interest loan, while the remainder is a grant.

Hawaiian Airlines has received a U.S. Department of Transportation exemption from another rule that mandates airlines that take federal aid must continue servicing certain routes, Ingram told the committee.

"The federal government money is extremely helpful to us to provide liquidity in the short term," Ingram said. "It is not a long-term fix, but it does help to buy us some time so that as we get past the immediate crisis, we are in a position to resume our business and have the team in place to do so. Obviously, there is still a lot of uncertainty about when that time will be."


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