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FAA to award COVID-19 CARES Act financial support to U.S. airports

Airports across the U.S. will be awarded approximately $10 billion in COVID-19 financial support under the Trump Administration’s CARES Act Airport Program.

U.S. CARES programme to help with COVID-19 relief measures safety

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has announced that it is set to award approximately $10 billion in funds to commercial and general aviation airports across the U.S., with the finance being drawn from the Trump Administration’s newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) Airport Program. 

The funds will work to provide economic relief to airports around the country which are being heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES Act provides funds to increase the federal share to 100 per cent for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and supplemental discretionary grants already planned for 2020. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs.

Under this new CARES Airport Program:

  • Primary commercial service airports – with more than 10,000 annual passenger boardings – will receive additional funds based on the number of annual boardings, in a similar way to how they currently receive AIP entitlement funds
  • All commercial service airports will receive funds based on the number of passengers that board aircraft there, the amount of debt an airport has, and the amount of money the airport has in reserve
  • General aviation airports will receive funds based on their airport categories, such as National, Regional, Local, Basic and Unclassified.

Providing this additional funding and eliminating the local share will allow critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned, regardless of airport sponsors’ current financial circumstances amidst the current pandemic.

Additionally, the CARES Act provides new funds distributed by various formulas for all airports that are part of the national airport system. This includes all commercial service airports, all reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports. 

The FAA plans to make these funds available in April 2020, and airport sponsors should work with their local Office of Airports field office. The FAA will provide additional guidance on the CARES Airport Program in early April 2020.

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