Nations flood economies with aid; airlines retreat from NYC

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, left, speaks during a meeting of the headquarters for measures against the coronavirus disease at the prime minister official residence in Tokyo, Japan, Monday, April 6, 2020. Abe said that he will declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures as early as Tuesday to bolster measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak, but that there will be no hard lockdowns. (Franck Robichon/Pool Photo via AP)

The outbreak of the coronavirus has dealt a shock to the global economy with unprecedented speed. Following are developments Monday related to the global economy, the work place and the spread of the virus.


CENTRAL BANKS AND GOVERNMENT: Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is preparing to announce a 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) economic package to help the country weather the coronavirus crisis. Abe said Monday he plans to disclose details of the package as early as Tuesday.

Abe is expected to announce a state of emergency Tuesday, at least for cities like Tokyo.

Hungary’s prime minister announced a second package of economic measures. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Monday that the measures would reallocate some 18% to 20% of Hungary’s state budget, or as much as around $32 billion, while raising the budget deficit from 1% of GDP to 2.7%.

AIRLINES: New York City is largely an island, and seems even more so each day as the number of flights in and out of the city plunge.

American Airlines is suspending more flights at the city’s three major airports, JFK, LaGuardia and Newark, in New Jersey.

American said late Sunday that it will run 13 flights daily from the three airports beginning this week, down from an average of 271 flights per day last April.

United Airlines over the weekend said that its 157 daily flights to the city would be reduced to 17. Spirit Airlines has completely cut off service to the city and JetBlue, which is based in New York City, has slashed operations in the city by about 80%.

The Transportation Security Administration screened 32% fewer passengers nationwide Sunday than just a week ago, and 95% fewer than the same day a year ago. TSA says 122,029 people went through its checkpoints Sunday, the second-lowest day yet, and just above Saturday’s 118,302.

Delta Air Lines, American Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue applied for a share of the $25 billion in federal grants designed to cover airline payrolls for the next six months. None disclosed the amount they are seeking. The grant money was part of the $2 trillion relief bill approved last week. Delta’s CEO says his airline is burning more than $60 million in cash per day, and United’s president puts it at $100 million a day.

The founder of easyJet says the company has enough money only to get through August at best and wants to cancel a 4.5 billion-pound ($5.5 billion) contract with planemaker Airbus for what he calls 107 “useless aircraft.”

EasyJet, which flies predominantly in Europe, has grounded all of its 344 planes.

European companies are expected to get financial support from the government, though unlike the U.S. there has not been a coordinated regional plan to bail out airlines or planemakers.

Singapore will suspend its Changi Airport Terminal 2 for 18 months beginning next month. Changi Airport may suspending operations temporarily if the remaining airlines choose to suspend or adjust their flight schedules.

STEPPING UP: Apple has sourced more than 20 million face masks through its supply chain, CEO Tim Cook said in a video posted on Twitter.

Apple hopes to quickly expand distribution beyond the U.S. It plans to ship over a million face shields to healthcare workers by the end of the week, and continue to send that many every week going forward, Cook said.

Ford Motor Co. has manufactured and shipped over 1 million clear plastic face shields to hospitals and first responders all over the U.S. The company sent its millionth protective shield to New York City as part of a shipment of more than 30,000 spokeswoman Elizabeth Kraft said.

Ford began designing the shields on March 19 after getting a request from the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. It started building masks at a factory in Plymouth, Michigan, near Detroit on March 23.

Hilton and American Express are donating 1 million U.S. hotel rooms to medical workers who need to sleep, relax or isolate from their families. The program, which begins next week and runs through the end of May, will provide free rooms to doctors, nurses, paramedics and others, the companies said Monday. American Express and Hilton are paying for the rooms, which are being provided at or below cost by Hilton franchisees. Hilton will offer the rooms through 10 professional organizations, including the American Hospital Association and the National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians.

The lodging industry is being devastated by the pandemic, with conferences, business and leisure travel coming to a standstill.

MARKETS: Stocks jumped in markets around the world Monday after some of the hardest-hit areas offered sparks of hope that the worst of the coronavirus outbreak may be on the horizon.