Learn what this means for AVL and the region
The COVID-19 pandemic has been extraordinarily difficult for everyone, in so many different ways. It is important to address what is happening in aviation, and the funding allocated from the federal government to support this critical infrastructure.
The nation’s aviation system, critical to the movement of people, goods and services, as well as to the economic health of our nation, has been jeopardized. All airports and air service providers are inherently connected, and the entire system must be intact to work.
Accounting for 7% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), airports are extremely important to the economic health of the nation. And like so many industries, the aviation industry has come to a near halt, with potential far-reaching negative impacts – regionally, nationally and globally. Equally important, airports must stay safely operational even during unprecedented times such as we are experiencing now – we must protect our nation’s ability to move people, goods and services.
Therefore, the federal government has implemented measures to help mitigate this unforeseen and sweeping shock by injecting funding into the aviation system.
A specific allocation of $10 billion has been allocated to U.S. airports in order to accomplish three specific goals: (1) keep airports in reliable, safe operation to serve the aviation industry, the travelling public, and support the economy; (2) keep airport and aviation workers employed; and (3) keep airport credit ratings stable. If these goals are met, the airport industry will survive this economic crisis and remain safely operational without interruption.
Asheville Regional Airport will receive $14,409,270 as part of the CARES Act, and funds will be received by the end of April. (It should be noted that these funds are separate from the $370+ billion allocated to support small businesses and the unemployed workforce.) The U.S. Department of Transportation is encouraging expeditious utilization of the funds, to achieve the primary goals of the relief funding. AVL contributes nearly $1.5 billion to the local economy annually, and supports nearly 9,000 local jobs. Its continued ability to operate is vital to our region’s recovery, as well as to the nation’s aviation infrastructure.
“We understand that we have an enormous responsibility to use these funds wisely so we continue to maintain a safe and operational airport,” said Lew Bleiweis, A.A.E., Executive Director. “It is also extremely important to retain our highly skilled and dedicated workforce. We are already at work to emerge through this crisis, continuing as a strong and vibrant airport for our region.”
The CARES Act funds will be used specifically for operational expenses, as well as maintaining the airport’s ability to continue critical capital projects already underway.