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Airlines offer free flights to coronavirus-fighting health care workers

United Airlines joins JetBlue and Delta

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United Airlines on Friday joined JetBlue and Delta in offering free, round-trip flights to health care workers on the frontlines of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

United and JetBlue are partnering with the city of New York to offer free, round-trip flights to health care workers willing to help the city's coronavirus patients, while Delta is offering free flights to medical professionals traveling to Georgia, Louisiana and Michigan.

United said it is working with the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and a number of medical volunteer organizations to coordinate travel for medical professionals so it can offer help to COVID-19 patients in New York, which has the most virus cases in the country.

A medical worker sticks her head outside a COVID-19 testing tent set up outside Elmhurst Hospital Center in New York March 28. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

"We've called on medical staff from around the country to join our fight in New York City. Today, United Airlines and JetBlue  stepped up to help fly them here," New York Mayor Bill de Blasio tweeted Friday. "On behalf of our city and the lives that will be saved: thank you."

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Jill Kaplan, president of United Airlines New York / New Jersey, told FOX Business she hopes the offer will help more volunteers and medical professionals reach the Tri-State area in a statement.

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"We are profoundly grateful for the extraordinarily talented and selfless individuals who are working around the clock and have an unwavering commitment to support our communities and medical providers at this time of exceptional need," Kaplan said.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
UALUNITED AIRLINES HLDG.44.96+4.03+9.85%
DALDELTA AIR LINES INC.41.26+2.47+6.37%
JBLUJETBLUE AIRWAYS15.86+0.73+4.82%

"It is our hope that providing air travel at no cost will allow additional dedicated volunteers and first responders the ability to reach the Tri-State area, that has been hit hardest by COVID-19," she continued.

As of Saturday morning, New York has 113,704 confirmed COVID-19 cases, and New York City has confirmed 63,306 cases. The state has also reported 3,565 deaths.

A patient is given a COVID-19 test by a medical worker outside Brooklyn Hospital Center March 29 in Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

JetBlue, headquartered in Queens, has already flown 50 health care workers into the city, according to The New York Post.

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"As New York's hometown airline, we are honored to be able to help right in our own backyard. We are honored to provide critical travel needs for medical professionals and first responders," Joanna Geraghty, president and COO at JetBlue, said in a statement.

United is also partnering with local governments and non-profit organizations to ensure housing for health care workers fighting COVID-19.

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The offer comes as airlines across the globe face a dramatic drop in business. United, Delta and JetBlue on Friday also said they had submitted an application for a payroll grants from the U.S. Treasury meant to keep workers employed but did not disclose details or terms.