U.S. airlines are in talks with the government to obtain at least $50 billion in financial assistance—more than three times the size of the industry’s bailout after the Sept. 11 attacks—according to people briefed on the discussions.

The exact form and amount of aid carriers are seeking is under discussion, and could include government-backed loans, cash grants or other measures including relief from taxes and fees, according to some of the people and a proposal released by an airline trade group Monday.

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