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Why Boeing might not accept coronavirus bailout money from Congress

Boeing's 1st quarter earnings report will spell cuts across the board. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

We’re still waiting on final approval of a $2.2 trillion dollar economic bailout package moving through Congress, $85 billion of which is set aside for the aviation industry. But will Boeing take the money?

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With Boeing plants across the Puget Sound region closed for the next two weeks, you would think Boeing would be happy to take any money the government is willing to give it to weather the storm. The Seattle Times reports that Boeing has already blown through a nearly $14 billion line of credit set up just last month. That being so, why wouldn’t the company take a government check with open arms?

The answer is this: Boeing has no interest in the strings attached to this bailout, primarily the language that would basically give the government a stake in the company. It’s called an equity share, and it’s the current price for this bailout.

Boeing CEO David Calhoun told FOX Business earlier this week he has no interest in that.

“Nobody has an interest in retaining government equity in their company,” Calhoun said. “We want to pay everything back. Everybody does.”

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Calhoun said the company has plenty of cash on hand to make it without a bailout, and he said Boeing has plenty of other options.

“If (Congress) forces it, we just look at all the other options, and we’ve got plenty of them,” he said. “It’s just not ideal for us or our suppliers, all of those companies spread throughout the United States. It’s not ideal if we don’t have it, but if they attach too many things to it, of course you take a different course.”

We are still waiting on the specific language of the final bill, and whether equity shares will be in it, but it sounds like Boeing might not take the government up on its offer.

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