U.S. airports to receive COVID-19 relief through CARES grant funding
Approximately $10 billion in CARES grant funding will be divided among commercial and general aviation airports across the U.S.
Elaine L. Chao, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, has announced that approximately $10 billion will be awarded to commercial and general aviation airports across the U.S. to support them through the COVID-19 pandemic.
The funding will be taken from the Trump Administration’s newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Airport Grant Program. Chao said: “This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs.”
Since the bill was signed into law less than two weeks ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (USDOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has worked in preparation to deliver CARES Act grants to eligible airports across the nation. The grants will provide economic relief to the many airports in the U.S. currently affected by the COVID-19 public health emergency.
The funding will work to support the continuation of airport operations and replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds are available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses – including payroll and utilities – and airport debt payments.
The FAA is encouraging airport sponsors to spend the grant funds immediately in order to help minimise any adverse impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Airport sponsors should work with their local FAA Office of Airports field office on the application and grant-agreement process.
The CARES Act also provides funds to increase the federal share to 100 per cent for grants awarded under the fiscal year 2020 appropriations for the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and Supplemental Discretionary grants. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs. 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.