National awaits loan package

Jul 2, 2002 7:35 AM

National Airlines is awaiting $50.5 million in government loan guarantees as it expands service and continues to rebound from September 11.

The Las Vegas-based carrier, along with a dozen others, has applied for federally backed loan guarantees in the wake of the East Coast terrorist attacks. So far, America West is the only carrier to land loan guarantees, receiving $380 million earlier this year.

National, which obtained $22 million from $5 billion in federal grants shortly after the terrorist strike, says its current request represents a leaner percentage than those of other airlines. Two carriers ”” Frontier Flying Service and Vanguard Airlines ”” were rejected last month.

Most of the nation’s largest airlines ”” including Southwest, American and Delta ”” are not seeking loan guarantees because they did not want to issue government stock in exchange. America West agreed to issue warrants for up to 5.3 percent of outstanding shares. National’s terms have not been divulged.

Meantime, National announced several new programs for fliers:

”¡ FareSavers offers multiple fare levels for first class tickets, including three-day advance purchase discounts on the carrier’s Web site that could save a traveler between New York and Los Angeles more than $2,600 roundtrip.

”¡ In addition, the carrier has significantly lowered many Main Cabin fares, particularly unrestricted, walk-up prices.

National also offers travelers whose itineraries require connections in Las Vegas a free stopover in the carrier’s hometown. The free stopover may be taken in either or both directions, provided it is built into the itinerary when the reservation is made. See page 7 for complete details.

”¡ Seasonal service to Palm Beach will run between November 21 and April 29, 2003 with one daily nonstop roundtrip from Las Vegas. The new route debuts with roundtrip fares as low as $149 each way.

”¡ National customers already ticketed or with reservations to/from Miami can change their flight to Palm Beach at no extra charge through July 31.