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Delta planes sit idle at Kansas City International Airport on April 3 in Kansas City, Missouri. Photo: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Small to medium airlines receiving bailouts of up to $100 million from the $2.2 trillion coronavirus rescue package will not have to provide the federal government with compensation or equity stakes, the Treasury Department announced Friday evening.

Why it matters: The airline industry got a $58 billion lifeline in the federal aid package, but the sector's operations and prospects will be forever changed by the global pandemic. Approximately 230 air carriers have applied for payroll assistance, the department said.

What they're saying: “The Payroll Assistance Program is critical to providing much-needed relief to Americans who work in the aviation industry,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a press release.

  • “Small and medium-sized passenger aviation businesses are particularly vulnerable to the disruption from COVID 19. This determination will provide significant support to workers and businesses across the country, while also appropriately compensating taxpayers.” 

What's next: The department is currently working with 12 passenger air carriers — larger airlines — that are seeking more than $100 million in assistance. Those airlines will need "to secure appropriate financial instruments to compensate taxpayers," Mnuchin said.

Go deeper: Airline industry braces for a forever-changed world

Go deeper

45 million Americans under winter storm watches near New England

Computer model projection showing the winds moving around the powerful East Coast storm on Saturday Jan. 29, 2022. Image: https://earth.nullschool.net

Nearly 45 million Americans are under winter weather alerts and warnings from North Carolina to northeastern Maine, as a major winter storm threatens the region.

Why it matters: It is predicted to be the biggest blizzard since 2018 to strike the Northeast with more than 2 feet of snow possible in parts of eastern Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.

3 hours ago - World

Australian PM pledges $700M for climate change-threatened Great Barrier reef

A green sea turtle is flourishing among the corals at Lady Elliot island in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. Photo: Jonas Gratzer/LightRocket via Getty Images

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a AU$1 billion ($703 million) investment plan for the Great Barrier Reef.

Why it matters: The nine-year plan for projects including water quality improvement, reef conservation and supporting some 64,000 tourism jobs comes months ahead of this year's federal election. It has been criticized by scientists and environmental groups for failing to tackle climate change.

Judge nixes Gulf of Mexico oil leases in climate-focused ruling

Tug boats prepare to tow the semi-submersible drilling platform Noble Danny Adkins through the Port Aransas Channel into the Gulf of Mexico on December 12, 2020 in Port Aransas, Texas. Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

A federal judge on Thursday canceled the Biden administration's late 2021 sale of new oil-and-gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico.

Why it matters: The ruling that the greenhouse gas emissions analysis by the Interior's Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) was insufficient is a win for green groups that challenged the decision, as they seek to curb fossil fuel production.