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Coronavirus

ILM To Get $19.8M In Relief Funds From CARES Act

By Vicky Janowski, posted Apr 14, 2020
A United Airlines flight is shown previously taking off from ILM. (File photo)
Wilmington International Airport is eligible for more than $19.8 million in federal funding to help offset losses from the sharp drop in national airline traffic because of COVID-19, transportation officials announced Tuesday.
 
The money is part of $10 billion going to airports nationwide as part of the recently passed CARES Act, a historic $2.2 trillion federal stimulus package meant to buffer economic impacts during the coronavirus pandemic.
 
The national airport funding “will support continuing operations and replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds are available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and airport debt payments,” stated a news release from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"At this time, ILM is researching all of the details. In the near future, the FAA will release the grant application," airport officials stated on ILM's website, adding that passenger activity and revenue has been significantly below normal levels since March 16.

For March, ILM saw its monthly passengers level drop to 42,500 travelers, 47% below March of last year.
 
Like at airports nationwide, concerns over the virus’s spread and guidance against travel quickly tamped down demand for flights at ILM.
 
“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said in a statement Tuesday.
 
Through the DOT’s Federal Aviation Administration $283.7 million will be awarded to airports across North Carolina, officials said, including nearly $49.6 million to Raleigh-Durham International Airport. About $135.6 million is going to Charlotte Douglas International Airport, which has seen staff layoffs.
 
Funding amounts for commercial airports were based on annual passenger boarding levels, existing debt and reserve amounts.

General aviation airports also are slated to receive funds. In the Cape Fear region, that includes $69,000 for Cape Fear Regional Jetport in Southport and $20,000 for Odell Williamson Municipal Airport in Ocean Isle Beach.
 
The FAA plans to make the funds available this month, and officials said the agency would give additional guidance on the CARES Airport Program next week.
 
As part of the program, the FAA also is providing additional money to airports through a change in its regular grants system.

Under the CARES Act, the FAA also has funds to give more for grants awarded in the fiscal year 2020 appropriations for Airport Improvement Program and Supplemental Discretionary grants. Those programs typically involve a split between the airport and FAA monies for projects, but the latest update means the federal share will cover the full amounts.

"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," Tuesday's announcement stated.
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