U.S. airports would receive $10 billion in grants under the
stimulus bill that passed unanimously in the Senate on Wednesday night.
Under the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic
Security (Cares) Act, nearly the entire $10 billion in airport grants would go
toward commercial airports. In exchange for the money, airports would be
required to retain at least 90% of their workforce through the end of this
General aviation airports are to get at least $100 million
under the legislation.
Most of the commercial airport grants, amounting to $7.4
billion, is to be allocated proportionally based on the number of passengers
each airport served last year and a formula that weighs the debt service each
airport paid versus each airport’s unrestricted reserves.
Another pot of $2 billion would be disbursed in more
progressive fashion, with small airports getting a proportionately larger share
of those funds.
The Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA)
trade group projects that the Covid-19 outbreak will cost U.S. airports at
least $13.9 billion this year.
ACI-NA projects that passenger traffic at U.S. airports will
drop 37% in 2020 versus 2019. That would drive a drop of approximately $12.3
billion in airport operating revenue. Lost collections of passenger facility
charges, which consumers pay when they buy an airline ticket, will amount to
$1.6 billion this year, according to the ACI-NA projection.