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Aid package sends aviation stocks soaring higher

777X takeoff
Boeing’s 777X jet takes off for its first flight in January. (GeekWire Photo / Alan Boyle)

Even as Boeing begins a 14-day production shutdown in the Puget Sound due to the coronavirus outbreak, the aerospace giant is in line for a financial booster shot, thanks to provisions in the $2 trillion relief package drawn up in the Senate.

Boeing’s stock ended the trading session with a 24% gain. Airline stocks rose as well, thanks to $50 billion in promised loans and grants for passenger airlines, and another $8 billion for cargo carriers.

The Senate bill, which hasn’t yet come up for a vote and could still undergo revision, doesn’t specifically call out Boeing. But it does set aside $17 billion in loans for businesses that are considered “critical to maintaining national security.” Sources told The Washington Post that this provision was meant to cover Boeing’s needs, although other companies could be eligible for some of that aid.

That $17 billion by itself doesn’t fully address Boeing’s request for $60 billion in assistance. Other sources of funding — public as well as private — could fill the gap.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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