The US Department of Transportation has announced a federal grant of nearly $2bn for airports affected by Covid-19 under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Programme.

This programme is funded under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.

More than 3,000 commercial service, reliever and publicly owned general-aviation airports in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems benefit from this programme.

US Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg said: “President Biden has made it a priority to deliver immediate relief to our transportation sectors and their workers, ensuring they can continue to provide essential services through this pandemic and beyond.

“This announcement is one of many steps we are taking to protect the health of America’s travellers and workers while keeping our nation’s airport operations and related small businesses up and running.”

A major portion of the funds will be utilised for keeping people and jobs safe by reimbursing operational costs, debt service payments and expenses related to combating the spread of coronavirus at the airport.

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The funds will also provide rent relief to airport concessions and finance to FAA contract towers for items such as sanitising and cleaning facilities impacted by the pandemic.

Under the Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Programme, key commercial service airports, those with more than 10,000 annual passenger boardings, will share $1.75bn based on the number of annual boardings.

An additional $200m will be shared by primary commercial service airports to provide relief from rent and minimum annual guarantees to on-airport car rental, on-airport parking, and in-terminal airport concessions.

Furthermore, non-primary commercial service and general aviation airports will share $45m on the basis of their airport categories such as national, regional, local and basic.

From this $45m, airports participating in the FAA Contract Tower Programme will equally split $5m.

Airports must apply for these grants by 30 June 2021.