INDIANAPOLIS -- Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted life in the U.S. in mid-March, airports have resembeled modern-day ghost towns.
The number of flights is a fraction of what they once were, as is the number of passengers.
That means significant lost revenue for airports such as Indianapolis International. Now, the federal government is coming to the rescue.
The U.S. Department of Transportation through Federal Aviation Administration is handing out $10 billion in aid to U.S. airports, big and small. 65 Indiana airports, from small county fields to Indianapolis International will divide up $96 million.
“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
Here is what the state's major airport will receive.
- Indianapolis International: $52 million
- Evansville: $19 million
- Ft. Wayne: $14 million
- South Bend: $7 million
"The amount of money allocated for the Indianapolis Airport Authority’s overall system, particularly the more than $52 million earmarked for the Indianapolis International Airport (IND), will be a significant economic catalyst as recovery efforts begin," said Mario Rodriquez, Executive Director, Indianapolis Airport Authority.
"We applaud the leadership shown by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other federal leaders during these difficult times, and once again look forward to assisting in our state’s economic recovery," said Rodriguez.
Indianapolis International's operating budget for 2020 is $166 million with an additional $143 for capital improvements.
The funds can be used for airport improvements, debt payments, or to offset the decline in airport operating revenue.
The FAA says it is encouraging airports to spend the grant funds immediately to help minimize any adverse impact from the current public health emergency.