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John Wayne Airport slated to get $44.9 million in federal coronavirus aid

Travelers make their way into John Wayne Airport in this file photo. The airport estimates it will lose as much as $50 million in revenue in the 2020 fiscal year as a result of a sharp drop in passenger traffic and other airport business due to the coronavirus outbreak.
(File Photo)

Orange County’s John Wayne Airport is slated to receive $44.9 million in government aid to help respond to plunging travel demand created by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

JWA estimates it will lose as much as $50 million in revenue in the 2020 fiscal year as a result of the outbreak, according to airport spokeswoman Deanne Thompson.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao said this week that the FAA will award $10 billion to the nation’s airports, with about $1 billion going to 188 airports in California.

“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” Chao said.

Southern California airports will receive more than $408 million, led by Los Angeles International with $323.6 million. Hollywood Burbank Airport is slated to get nearly $21.1 million and Long Beach Airport $18.4 million.

The money is part of the newly created Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act airport grant program.

The funding will support continuing operations and help replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business due to the coronavirus emergency. The funds are available for capital expenditures, debt payments and operating expenses including payroll and utilities.

Thompson said the funds will be released through the FAA claim process. John Wayne Airport will submit expense reimbursement claims through an online grant claims system.

“JWA will claim reimbursement through the CARES grant program for employee salaries and benefits, the airport’s bond debt service payments, service contracts (such as airport security, aircraft rescue firefighters, janitorial, etc.), utilities and other operating expenses,” Thompson said in an email.

Rob Vardon is city editor of the Daily Pilot.

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