American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE) President and CEO Todd Hauptli praised the $10 billion for airports in the U.S. Republican senators’ pandemic relief bill, the Health, Economic Assistance, Liability Protection and Schools (HEALS) Act, and called on Congressional leaders to include airport relief in the final bill.

“The situation at America’s airports and with the entire aviation system remains dire, with traffic still down 70-75 percent, and with the outlook beyond the summer becoming increasingly concerning,” Hauptli said in a statement. “The proposed $10 billion would help airports weather the storm of dramatically reduced passengers, which appears likely for the foreseeable future, and we look forward to working with the bipartisan leadership of Congress to gain passage of a final package that helps airports and the entire aviation ecosystem survive into the future.”

Airports Council International-North America (ACI-NA) also came out in support for the $10 billion proposal in a legislative update to members, adding the HEALS Act also provides an additional $2 billion in resources for the TSA and Customs & Border Patrol (CBP).
“Please contact your senators ASAP to voice your support for this important proposal,” the ACI-NA told members. “The introduction of this measure kicks off talks with Democrats on provisions to include in a final bill that Congress hopes to approve in the next two weeks.”

The update said $9.5 billion would be set aside for commercial service airports and $500 million for general aviation airports. The commercial service funds would be allocated based on a combination of the AIP enplanement and cargo entitlement formulas, with double entitlements and no PFC giveback, with the remainder being divided up based on overall enplanements.

Airports receiving aid would be required to retain at least 90 percent of their employees through March 31, 2021.

In addition to additional relief funding, the Republican Senate proposal also provides liability protection to various entities, including state and local governments, limiting liability for personal injuries arising from alleged COVID-19 exposure, the update noted