US carriers appear likely to receive their second multi-billion dollar government aid package since the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.

Both houses of Congress have passed proposals that would provide US airlines with more than $3 billion to counter the impact that the war in Iraq will have on the industry. Because the proposals are being tacked on to the government's emergency war-funding bill, they could be confirmed as early as 11 April.

The money would mostly be directed at compensating airlines for additional security costs. It falls far short of the $9 billion US airlines originally sought and does not provide the "tax holiday" they wanted. Even so, the White House has made clear its displeasure, describing the amount proposed as "excessive".

Immediately after the terrorist attacks, US airlines easily won an aid package of $5 billion cash and $10 billion in federal loan guarantees.

Source: Flight International