The U.S. Transportation Department/Federal Aviation Administration (DOT/FAA) today awarded nearly $10 billion to U.S. airports devastated by the tremendous falloff in travel demand as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Airports from across the country participated in a call with the FAA to review the CARES Act provisions, which airports are eligible, what expenditures are eligible and how funds would be allocated. The specific amounts granted to individual airports were released as well.
The passage of the CARES Act and distribution of awarded funds came after airports projected a loss of at least $13.9 billion this year as travel demand has fallen by 95%. From the $10 billion designated for airports across the nation as apart of the CARES Act, Huntsville International Airport has been awarded $13,785,691 to offset revenue losses from the pandemic. HSV had originally projected revenue losses from the onset of Covid-19 fallout through June 30, 2020 to be between $7-$10 million. With the actual traffic being down much more than expected and the falloff more swift the airport has now projected that revenue loss through year-end could be as high as $21 million. This revenue loss estimate does not account for any additional losses that might occur if the recovery period resulting from the pandemic continues thereafter.
"Airports are economic drivers providing vital transportation infrastructure that allows our community access to business opportunities across the nation and the world," said Rick Tucker, Huntsville International Airport CEO. "This is why we are tremendously grateful that the federal government has worked so hard to support the airline and airport workforce during these unprecedented times. These funds will protect our workforce so that we can continue providing passengers with an economic and cultural lifeline via the air transportation network. We again applaud and are thankful to the Senate, House and President Donald Trump for their bipartisan efforts in passing the CARES Act and we are grateful to the Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration for the swift and thoughtful granting of these funds to airports in dire need of them. Huntsville International Airport will use monies granted to offset the tremendous revenue losses that we have incurred since the onset of this pandemic and to maintain the "ready status"needed to immediately get air service capacity ramped up as the economy recovers."
In order to accept this grant, Huntsville International Airport is required to maintain 90% of its workforce through the calendar year-end. Aligning well with the FAA's mandate, HSV has worked throughout the pandemic with three top priorities in place: 1) maintaining the safety of passengers and employees, 2) being able to continue to operate the airport for the community and 3) preserving jobs. With dramatically reduced airline schedules, empty parking garages and a sudden and staggering drop in revenue for both airlines and airports across the country this has been a challenge, but this grant will allow the airport to continue to operate through these unprecedented times.