When the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law by President Donald Trump on March 27, it included $10 billion in relief funds for airports that have been affected by the economic disruptions stemming from the pandemic.
In Iowa, about $70.46 million in funding is being disbursed to 79 airports across the state. And one of the aviation hubs that is seeing some relief come in is the Mason City Municipal Airport.
According to Mason City Airport Manager David Sims, the airport is receiving $2.41 million in CARES funding which is intended to replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business. (Large airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson International in Atlanta have seen 85% declines in traffic since the pandemic began to spread.)
"Our airline is still operating but the passenger traffic for March was down 50% and I’d guess it would be down even more this month. Traffic is way way down. Almost non-existent," Sims said. And that funding the airport is receiving will be used over the next several years to help with operating and capital expenses.
In a press release, Sims said that funding amounts were determined based on three key factors: the number of annual boarding passengers, the amount of debt currently owed and the airport's classification. As a smaller area hub that's seen its passenger totals tick upward, the airport was better positioned to receive more money. (Before the recent downturn, the Mason City Airport had been doing well enough with traffic that it unlocked $600,000 in funding from the federal government to use on rehabilitation projects.)
But even with the funding infusion, Sims recognized that there's still plenty of uncertainty at a time when the travel industry is being hit so hard:
"We’re doing the best we can right now. This is an unusual situation that no one has ever encountered before."
Reach Reporter Jared McNett at 641-421-0527. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram at @TwoHeadedBoy98.
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