The new Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA), signed into law by President Donald Trump on December 27, 2020, after some initial misgivings, includes $2 billion in funds to be awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports and eligible concessions at those airports to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency.
The new grant program will provide much-needed economic relief to airports around the country and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has established the Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program to distribute the funds. The FAA will make grants to all eligible airports that are part of the national airport system, including all commercial service airports, all reliever airports, and some public-owned general aviation airports.
Under this new Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program:
- Primary commercial service airports, those with more than 10,000 annual passenger boardings, will share $1.75 billion based on the number of annual boardings, in a similar way to how they currently receive Airport Improvement Program (AIP) entitlement funds.
- Primary commercial service airports will share an additional $200 million based on the number of annual boardings, and these funds will then be available for these airports to provide relief from rent and minimum annual guarantees to on-airport car rental, on-airport parking, and in-terminal airport concessions. Airports will provide this relief to each airport concession based on its proportional share of the total annual rent and minimum annual guarantees for the airport.
- Non-primary commercial service and general aviation airports will share $45 million based on their airport categories, such as National, Regional, Local, and Basic. Of that $45 million, airports that participate in the FAA Contract Tower Program will divide $5 million equally.
The FAA intends to implement this program quickly to support the economic recovery of the national airport system.