Speaking Friday at a bill signing, the president said he spoke with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“I told Steve we’re the biggest user of the airlines—the United States government. And one of the ways we can help the airlines is buy tickets at a very large discount, maybe 50 percent off or maybe more,” Trump said.
“And you buy into four or five years’ worth of tickets, and you infuse them with some cash. And in the meantime, we’re flying the people of our country for, you know, a fraction of the cost that it would be if the—you know, when the airlines get back.”
Trump said he’s liked the idea for a while.
The airlines will bounce back from the current predicament—devastatingly low numbers of passengers as people around the world are restricted due to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus—but buying tickets from them now would provide an “incentive,” the president said.
“I like it both ways. I like it for us to. We’re the largest user of the airlines. So you buy tickets. I don’t know. It sounds good—right?—if we get a good discount,” he added.
Ten U.S. airlines including Delta, American, and Southwest received money from a virus relief package.
Trump said he wants to help the oil and gas industry, which he said “got unnecessarily hurt” after some countries dumped oil on the international market before a large-scale agreement was hammered out by the president.
The administration is filling up its National Strategic Reserves, which can hold up to 75 million barrels.
“We’re going to have that filled up pretty soon. So it’ll be filled for the first time in a long time. And we’re doing it at a very, very low cost,” Trump said, adding that other purchases could be made “at a great price,” giving companies “the infusion we need.”
He also believes the oil and gas industry will bounce back in the coming months.
Travel restrictions, including sharp drops in automobile trips and travel by plane, have contributed to gas prices decreasing to record lows.
Trump said this week that he directed Mnuchin and Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette to form a plan to make money available to oil and gas companies.
Asked if one of the options is the government taking equity stakes in energy companies, Mnuchin told reporters: “You can assume that’s one of the alternatives, but there’s many of them.”