As a way to help struggling airlines (after the industry has already received $25B in bailout money), President Trump has suggested that the federal government could buy four to five years worth of airline tickets for government employees flying on official business—for at least a 50% discount.
“One of the ways we can help the airlines is buying tickets at a very large discount, maybe 50% off or maybe more, and you buy into four or five years’ worth of tickets, and you infuse [the airlines] with some cash,” the president said.
I’m no economist, but on the face of it, this doesn’t seem like a terrible idea. Maybe it should have been the first move, before the handout. But it also seems like the government, which is a huge purchaser of airline tickets in normal times, might be looking to take advantage of a bad situation to score a good deal.