Reuters reports that the US Treasury Department on Friday (15 January) began distributing $15bn in new payroll assistance to airlines, money allocated by Congress to help more than 32,000 aviation workers return to jobs by at least 31 March.

Large airlines receiving assistance need to repay 30% to the Government in 10-year, low-interest loans. They must also issue warrants as part of the assistance and agree to extend restrictions on executive compensation and a ban on paying dividends and share repurchases through March 2022.

Delta Air Lines said it expects to receive $2.9bn in total aid this round, with $830m in the form of an unsecured loan. The airline said it received the first instalment of $1.4bn on Friday.

Southwest Airlines said it expected to receive $1.73bn in total and received $863.7m on Friday.

The warrants are priced at each airline’s share closing prices on 24 December.

Congress in March approved an initial $25bn in payroll assistance to support airline jobs for six months.

The Treasury said it struck agreements with 12 airlines representing nearly 95% of US airline capacity including Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta, Frontier Airlines Co, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Republic Airways, SkyWest Airlines, Southwest, Spirit Airlines and United Airlines.