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Spain to disburse $2 billion in aid for transport companies

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s government will disburse 1.8 billion euros ($2 billion)in aid to support transport companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, transport minister Jose Luis Abalos said on Tuesday.

State-owned rail operator Renfe will receive 1 billion euros of the funds via an increase in its debt capacity, while 673 million will be for private transport companies, Abalos said after the weekly cabinet meeting.

Land infrastructure operator Seipsa will receive a one-off loan of 110 million euros, he said.

“Transporters were key when the pandemic hit the hardest to keep the supply of basic goods. It is fair that we now fulfill our duty towards them,” Abalos said.

Air transportation companies have already received funds to help them pay for new safety measures imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The government has also lent 1.8 billion euros to Spanish airlines so far, the minister said, adding that part of the 10- billion-euro bailout fund set up to keep “strategic” companies alive could be used to prop them up.

International Consolidated Airlines's ICAG.L Spanish units Iberia and Vueling already said in May they had secured 1 billion euros of government-backed loans.

Reporting by Nathan Allen, Inti Landauro, Belen Carreno; editing by Andrei Khalip and Emelia Sithole-Matarise