Bloomberg Businessweek

Is Government Aid the New Jet Fuel?

• As Europe’s airline industry flies into the red, it’s seeking bailout assistance to survive

Early in March, aviation executives convened in Brussels to discuss the state of their industry. The coronavirus was raging in Asia, crushing travel demand, but Europe looked set to dodge a major hit, or so believed the participants in the conference.

Bookings would likely return to normal in a few weeks, and “people will get bored of the coverage” of the virus, Ryanair Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Leary predicted. Besides, airlines shouldn’t use the outbreak as an excuse to seek government aid and prop up failing businesses. “Keep calm, give people rational advice, and then let the bankrupt go bankrupt, because that’s what’s going to happen—whether it’s before, during, or after Covid-19,” O’Leary

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