Mar 22, 2020 - Health

Carnival CEO downplays coronavirus bailout, but worries about job losses

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald is interviewed by video teleconference
Photo: "Axios on HBO"

Carnival Corp. CEO Arnold Donald says he is not looking for a coronavirus bailout from Congress or the Trump administration and insists his company did the right thing in waiting to shut down cruises earlier this month.

  • The main priority is keeping checks coming to Carnival's 150,000 employees, Donald said in an interview with "Axios on HBO," but he's unsure how long the company can continue.

The big picture: The travel industry is one of the largest in the world. With nearly $6 trillion in revenue, it is responsible for an estimated 319 million jobs and a cadre of ancillary industries that includes local vendors, taxi drivers and artisans.

  • "One reason we are interested in sailing again as soon as is practical is because we touched so many small business owners around the world and here in the United States," Donald said in a one-on-one interview with "Axios on HBO."

Between the lines: “We don’t need a bailout in terms of giving us money. Getting a loan guarantee would be helpful,” Donald said, noting that "capital markets are constrained right now."

  • "On the other hand, if for some reason that doesn't happen, we are committed to trying to find a way to support those who are dependent on us for their livelihoods."

What it means: A federal guarantee would backstop the company’s loans and be a form of government assistance provided by either the Fed or Treasury Department.

  • The Miami Herald notes that a coronavirus bailout for the cruise industry could be tricky because unlike many other leisure and travel industries seeking government help, they are largely tax-exempt.
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