Southwest Airlines  (LUV) – Get Report said that starting next year it will fly out of Chicago O’Hare as well as Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental, stepping up competition against rival United Airlines  (UAL) – Get Report.

Dallas-based Southwest has traditionally flown out of Chicago Midway and Houston Hobby, two smaller airports. 

“Today’s announcement furthers our commitment to both cities as we add service to share Southwest’s value and hospitality with more leisure and business travelers,” Southwest Chief Executive Gary Kelly said in a statement. 

Southwest last flew service out of both Houston Hobby and IAH in 2005. 

The company said that work is underway at Chicago O’Hare to add new service there and that service to both airports is anticipated to start in first-half 2021. 

O’Hare is in the midst of a $2.2 billion expansion with a new global terminal as its centerpiece. United Airlines is based in Chicago.

Last week, Southwest said that to avert job cuts and furloughs, it was asking its labor unions to accept pay cuts as federal aid to carriers was set to expire. 

Under the industry’s $25 billion agreement with the government, Southwest and other airlines were barred from furloughing or dismissing employees until after Oct. 1. 

The airline says that its revenue remains 70% below normal levels. 

The airline industry has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns. 

Southwest has more than 4,800 employees based in Chicago and nearly 4,000 jobs in Houston. 

Southwest shares at last check were down 1% to $39.35. United Airlines stock was trading off 2.1% at $36.36. 

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FILE PHOTO: Calin Rovinescu, CEO of Air Canada speaks during a panel discussion on Cyber Security at the 2016 International Air Transport Association (IATA) Annual General Meeting (AGM) and World Air Transport Summit in Dublin, Ireland June 3, 2016. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne/File Photo

(Reuters) – Air Canada AC.TO has slashed its price to buy Canadian tour operator Transat A.T. Inc TRZ.TO, with the deal now worth about C$188.7 million ($143.86 million), down from C$720 million, as COVID-19 weighs on travel demand, the companies said in a statement on Saturday.

The country’s largest carrier had secured Transat shareholders’ approval for the deal last year with an C$18.00 a share bid, to bolster its then thriving leisure business.

But with the pandemic grounding flights globally, Air Canada faced shareholder pressure to renegotiate the deal which is still pending approval from European and Canadian regulators, Reuters reported in May.

Montreal-based Air Canada, like many of its global peers, has slashed flights, suspended financial forecasts and sought government aid as the industry deals with its worst slump.

Companies have been cancelling deals amid COVID-19 uncertainty, with aircraft parts suppliers Hexcel Corp HXL.N and Woodward Inc WWD.O abandoning their planned $6.4 billion all-stock merger in April.

Under revised terms of the deal, Air Canada said it will acquire all shares of Transat for C$5 per share, representing a premium of about 30.5% to Transat’s last close on Friday.

“Air Canada intends to complete its acquisition of Transat, at a reduced price and on modified terms,” said Calin Rovinescu, the carrier’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

“Consummating the initial deal at $18.00 was not an option that was viable given the full set of circumstances the Corporation is facing,” Jean-Yves Leblanc, chair of the special committee of the board of Transat said in a statement.

(Reuters) – Air Canada

has slashed its price to buy Canadian tour operator Transat A.T. Inc
, with the deal now worth about C$188.7 million ($143.86 million), down from C$720 million, as COVID-19 weighs on travel demand, the companies said in a statement on Saturday.

The country’s largest carrier had secured Transat shareholders’ approval for the deal last year with an C$18.00 a share bid, to bolster its then thriving leisure business.

But with the pandemic grounding flights globally, Air Canada faced shareholder pressure to renegotiate the deal which is still pending approval from European and Canadian regulators, Reuters reported in May.

Montreal-based Air Canada, like many of its global peers, has slashed flights, suspended financial forecasts and sought government aid as the industry deals with its worst slump.

Companies have been cancelling deals amid COVID-19 uncertainty, with aircraft parts suppliers Hexcel Corp

and Woodward Inc

abandoning their planned $6.4 billion all-stock merger in April.

Under revised terms of the deal, Air Canada said it will acquire all shares of Transat for C$5 per share, representing a premium of about 30.5% to Transat’s last close on Friday.

“Air Canada intends to complete its acquisition of Transat, at a reduced price and on modified terms,” said Calin Rovinescu, the carrier’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

“Consummating the initial deal at $18.00 was not an option that was viable given the full set of circumstances the Corporation is facing,” Jean-Yves Leblanc, chair of the special committee of the board of Transat said in a statement.

As part of the deal, Transat has also secured a new C$250 million short-term loan facility, Transat said.

(Reporting by Bhargav Acharya in Bengaluru and Allison Lampert in Montreal; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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By Tracy Rucinski and David Shepardson

(Reuters) – The prospects for quick federal aid for U.S. airlines remained uncertain on Thursday with mixed signals about the state of negotiations over standalone legislation for the struggling sector and a larger COVID-19 economic relief bill.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters there would be no standalone aid without a comprehensive COVID-19 relief bill, but later left the door open to some kind of deal in comments to Bloomberg TV.

“Ain’t going to be no standalone bill, unless there is a bigger bill,” Pelosi told reporters.

Her announcement caught some congressional staff by surprise on Thursday who were discussing the status of airline relief proposals and how to fund another $25 billion for the sector, among the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. airlines received a $50 billion bailout in March, half in payroll support that was primarily composed of cash grants and half in federal loans. They are seeking another $25 billion in payroll aid to protect jobs for another six months.

With broader stimulus talks stalled, hopes for standalone airline relief had built this week, though hurdles remained for legislation that would require unanimous consent.

Republican Senators Pat Toomey and Mike Lee pushed back against more cash grants for airlines on Thursday, saying there are still unused federal loans for the sector and that no other Fortune 500 companies have received taxpayer-funded grants.

American Airlines

and United Airlines

began the furlough of 32,000 workers last week, and tens of thousands more at those airlines and others have agreed to voluntary leaves or reduced hours.

American and United have each secured some $5 billion in Treasury loans, though data released earlier this week showed that only 60% of the $25 billion fund, which carries restrictions on executive compensation and share

(Bloomberg) — Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air Inc. plans to raise $500 million by selling preferred stock and bonds, joining airlines worldwide in trying to increase capital to help cope with the pandemic.



a group of people sitting around a car: A Cebu Air Inc. aircraft prepares to land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, the Philippines, on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Philippine government has banned travel to Hong Kong, along with Macau and mainland China. Earlier this month, the Philippines' Labor Department announced that it would offer financial assistance and temporary housing to workers who'd gotten stranded in the capital en route to their jobs overseas.


© Bloomberg
A Cebu Air Inc. aircraft prepares to land at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila, the Philippines, on Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Philippine government has banned travel to Hong Kong, along with Macau and mainland China. Earlier this month, the Philippines’ Labor Department announced that it would offer financial assistance and temporary housing to workers who’d gotten stranded in the capital en route to their jobs overseas.

The proceeds from the $250 million convertible preference share issue and $250 million private placement of convertible bonds will be used to strengthen the carrier’s balance sheet, it said in a statement. First-half revenue at the airline controlled by the family of John Gokongwei plunged 61% from a year earlier to 17.3 billion pesos ($358 million) and the company said it is operating only about 15% of flights compared with pre-Covid.

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Cebu Air is undertaking a business transformation that involves trimming down its fleet and network while improving operations as an abrupt drop in passenger traffic “casts uncertainty over the near term prospects of the company,” it said, without providing more details of its downsizing plan.

Airlines in the Philippines have suffered a shaky restart amid one of the world’s longest and strictest lockdowns, with lingering concerns over the virus and stringent movement restrictions damping demand for travel. Cebu Air in August dismissed more than 800 of its about 4,000 employees, while rival Philippine Airlines Inc. on Oct. 5 said it may cut up to 35% of its 7,000 workers as part of a larger restructuring and recovery