Coronavirus: US Government announces airport grant allocations

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The US Government has announced the recipients and allocations for the US$10 billion of funding for commercial and general aviation airports from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act Airport Grant Program.

US Transportation Secretary Elaine L. 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.”

The grants will be delivered through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to around 3,000 airports in the USA affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both commercial and general aviation airports have experienced a sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business because of restrictions on travel imposed by the government to stop the spread of Covid-19. The funding is intended to support continuing operations and replace lost revenue.

Eligible airports are those in the USA’s National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems (NPIAS), including commercial service airports, reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports. The full list of recipients and amounts can be read here.

Around US$100 million has been allocated for smaller business and general aviation airports.

The grants can be used for capital expenditures, operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and debt payments.

“Thank you to the dedicated men and women from the FAA’s Office of Airports for creating an entirely new program in record time to assist airport sponsors in desperate need of these funds,” said FAA Administrator Steve Dickson.

The FAA wants airport sponsors to spend the grants funds immediately to help minimize any adverse impact from Covid-19 pandemic and is advising that airport sponsors should work with their local FAA Office of Airports field office on the application and grant-agreement process.

The FAA will use a streamlined application and grant-agreement process to make this funding immediately available for critical airport needs. The funds will be available as soon as the airport sponsor executes a grant agreement.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act used different formulas for different types of airports that considered aspects of the airport’s businesses such as enplaments and existing grant allocation to work out the amount of each grant. There is additional information available on the CARES Act website.

The CARES Act also provides funds to increase the Federal share to 100% for grants awarded under the fiscal year 2020 appropriations for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and Supplemental Discretionary grants. Under normal circumstances, AIP grant recipients contribute a matching percentage of the project costs.

This additional funding and the elimination of the local share is intended to allow critical safety and capacity projects to continue as planned, regardless of the airport sponsors’ current financial circumstances.

 

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Ben has worked all of his career as a journalist and now editor, covering almost all aspects of technology, engineering and industry. In the last 20 years he has written on subjects from nuclear submarines and autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies and commercial aviation. Latterly editor of a leading engineering magazine, he brings an eye for a great story and lots of experience to the team.

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