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Washington State Airports Net $217M to Expand Operation

June 25, 2021 by Brock Blasdell

Airports in Washington are receiving a combined $217 million in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration to help maintain and expand operations. 

The announcement follows the Biden administration’s springtime promise of $8 billion in funding under the American Rescue Plan to help airports across America maintain employment and air travel amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

U.S. Senator Patty Murray, D-Wash., delivered the news Wednesday in a statement that praised the initiative as “absolutely vital” to the regional state economy.

“It’s critical that our airports can keep people and goods going where they need to go,” Murray said. “Washington state’s airports are absolutely vital to our regional economies, and after a devastating year for the airline industry, the American Rescue Plan will help keep workers on payroll, passengers on planes, and shipments in the skies.”

The two airports receiving most of the $217 million allotment in Washington are the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, which will receive $175.7 million, and Spokane International Airport, which will receive $16.8 million.

The funds are designated to help maintain safety standards, keep people employed and mitigate operational expenses and debts of these airports. Additionally, airports have the option of providing rent relief to in-terminal concession stands and retailers who are facing reduced business. 

The federal funding also requires airports to maintain at least 90% of their pre-pandemic employees to maintain air travel for the traveling public majority.

“We are extremely appreciative to the congressional delegation for the federal funding to help airports,” said Perry Cooper, the media relations manager of SEA. “For SEA, the dollars will primarily go to debt service with some covering operations and maintenance. There is a $21 million amount that will be going to our concessionaires.”

So far, a little over $7.3 billion of the $8 billion federal airport allotment has been distributed to airports across the nation – with the largest dollar amounts headed to California, Texas and Florida.

Washington airports will receive funding relatively equal to airports in states such as Virginia, Arizona and Colorado.

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