White House officials consider deferring taxes for the cruise, travel, and airline industries as they face their worst crisis since the 2001 terrorist attacks due to the economic fallout from the coronavirus, the Washington Post reported.
The travel industry is suffering greatly as airlines cut back on routes and warn about declining ticket sales while hotel chains struggle with vacancies in Asia and are preparing for similar action in the United States.
It remains unclear how U.S. relief would be administered or whether President Trump’s own hotels could be beneficiaries.
White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow confirmed on Friday that the administration is considering “timely and targeted” federal intervention to help workers, businesses, and industries most vulnerable economically to the outbreak.
“Perhaps on a large scale, some of the sectors might need some temporary assistance,” Kudlow said on Fox Business, adding, “We don’t want to act prematurely.”
As fear and uncertainty around the coronavirus increasingly drive consumer behavior, many travel experts and industry executives are comparing the current industry upheaval to that of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
“It has a 9/11-like feel,” Southwest Airlines chief executive Gary Kelly said Thursday on CNBC. He also said that “9/11 wasn’t an economically driven issue for travel. It was more fear, quite frankly, and I think that that’s really what’s manifested this time.”
The International Air Transport Association warned that the outbreak could cost airlines as much as $113 billion in lost revenue. United Airlines and American Airlines stocks are both down about 40 percent this year.
President Trump signed legislation Friday to address the outbreak. It allows for up to $7 billion in low-interest loans for small businesses from the Small Business Administration.