U.S. Senate Passes Massive Coronavirus Relief Package Including Relief for Airports

Submitted by Sandra Shelton on Thu, 03/26/2020 - 8:59am

Dear Oklahoma Airport Community,

As no doubt many of you know, after days of negotiation, lawmakers and the Administration reached a deal on the massive coronavirus relief and economic stimulus package that includes $10 billion for airports struggling to deal with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Senate passed this package last night and the House is expected to do this Friday by voice vote. Then, on to the President for his signature, which he has said he will sign immediately. The $10 billion will come from the General Fund and not the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is a victory particularly in view of the aviation excise tax holiday through 2020 (PFC charges unaffected) that is part of the airline relief.

The airport relief is divided this way:

-$7.4 billion to commercial service airports (Oklahoma: Lawton-Ft. Sill, OKC Will Rogers, Stillwater, and Tulsa International) to be used for any lawful purpose including bond debt, operating costs, and employment costs at 100% federal share distributed this way:

  • $3.7 billion based upon 2018 enplanement as a percentage of total 2018 enplanements for all commercial service airports.

  • $3.7 billion based upon each airport’s 2018 debt service as a percentage of combined debt service for all commercial service airports and each airport’s ratio of unrestricted reserves to their respective debt service.

-$2 billion for commercial service airports based upon a modified apportionment formula at 100% federal share for any purpose for which airport revenues may lawfully be used.

-$500 million to provide for 100% federal share of FY 2020 AIP grants (current program, $3.35 billion, plus the $400 million supplemental for FY 2020 previously authorized and appropriated) for commercial service and general aviation airports.

-$100 million set aside for general aviation airports only to be used for any lawful purpose for which airport revenues may be used at 100% federal share. 74 or 75 of our general aviation airports that are in the Federal system would be eligible for grants from this set aside.

The bill has a workforce retention requirement requiring airports that receiving federal funds to continue to employ at least 90% of the individuals employed at the airport from when the bill is enacted until the end of 2020. This requirement does not apply to nonhub commercial service airports (Lawton-Ft. Sill, and Stillwater), and nonprimary (general aviation) airports. Guidance is forthcoming from the FAA regarding this funding.

Thank you very much. This would not have been accomplished without your help and engagement. As I have been doing, I will continue to update you on developments regarding this.

-Vic

Victor N. Bird
Director of Aeronautics
State of Oklahoma