FAA to Award $10 Billion Economic Relief to Airports Under CARES Act

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award approximately $10 billion in funds to commercial and general aviation airports from the Trump Administration’s newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) Airport Program.

The funds will provide economic relief to airports around the country affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The CARES Act provides funds to increase the federal share to 100 percent for Airport Improvement Program (AIP) and supplemental discretionary grants already planned for fiscal year 2020. 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.

Additionally, the CARES Act provides new funds distributed by various formulas for all airports that are part of the national airport system. This includes all commercial service airports, all reliever airports and some public-owned general aviation airports. 

Under this new CARES Airport Program:

  • Primary commercial service airports, with more than 10,000 annual passenger boardings, will receive additional funds based on the number of annual boardings, in a similar way to how they currently receive AIP entitlement funds.
  • All commercial service airports will receive funds based on the number of passengers that board aircraft there, the amount of debt an airport has, and the amount of money the airport has in reserve.
  • General aviation airports will receive funds based on their airport categories, such as National, Regional, Local, Basic and Unclassified. 

The FAA plans to make these funds available in April, and airport sponsors should work with their local Office of Airports field office. The FAA will provide additional guidance on the CARES Airport Program next week.

The FAA has prepared a list of FAQs for stakeholders regarding the funding

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