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RIAC EXPRESSES APPRECIATION FOR FEDERAL FUNDS FOR RI AIRPORTS AMID “UNPRECEDENTED” COVID-19 IMPACT

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Expects a return to 2019 passenger volume to be a multi-year process

Warwick, RI – April 16, 2020 – The Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) today expressed appreciation to U.S. Senator Jack Reed for his efforts to secure more than $24 million in federal funding for Rhode Island’s public airports. Senator Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development and Related Agencies (THUD), helped include the funding for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation (RIAC) as part of the $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act (Public Law No. 116-136).  While T.F. Green experienced an increase in January and February 2020 passenger counts compared to the previous year, March, April and subsequent months in 2020 are projected to a show massive decline in passenger volume, with a return to 2019 passenger levels expected to require a recovery process of several years. 

“We are extremely grateful for the leadership provided by Senator Reed and all in Rhode Island’s congressional delegation during this unprecedented time,” said Iftikhar Ahmad, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation.  “Continued airport operations are an essential component of our state’s supply chain, as well as Rhode Island’s ability to respond to emergencies.”

“While a return to 2019 passenger levels will be a long, challenging, multi-year process, these funds will better allow Rhode Island to weather the storm of coronavirus and allow us to help restore our state’s economic health and consumer demand for safe travel,” added Ahmad.
In addition to providing critical federal supports to aid in the nation’s recovery from COVID-19, the CARES Act also provides funds to increase the Federal share to 100% for grants awarded under the fiscal year 2020 appropriations for Airport Improvement Program and Supplemental Discretionary grants. As such, Rhode Island’s public airports have been allocated the following funds, which can be utilized for high priority projects as determined by RIAC and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration:

Block Island State Airport    $1,069,162
Newport State Airport        $30,000
North Central State Airport    $30,000
Quonset State Airport        $69,000
T.F. Green State Airport        $21,746,229
Westerly State Airport        $1,072,803

Rhode Island Total         $24,017,194

“This federal funding provides a critical investment in our people as well as our essential airport infrastructure at a time when COVID-19 has had a historic impact on air travel and airport revenues,” said Jonathan Savage, Board Chair of the Rhode Island Airport Corporation. “We truly appreciate the efforts of Senator Reed and our Congressional delegation in helping Rhode Island through this difficult period.”
Senator Reed was part of a twenty-member bipartisan working group that was instrumental in crafting several pieces of the sweeping $2 trillion bipartisan agreement, including fiscal help for states and small business, expanded unemployment insurance, and other critical measures.   This funding will support continuing operations and replace lost revenue resulting from the sharp decline in passenger traffic and other airport business due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The funds are available for airport capital expenditures, airport operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and airport debt payments.

About RIAC: The Rhode Island Airport Corporation was formed on December 9, 1992 as a semi-autonomous subsidiary of the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation to operate and maintain the state’s airport system. The powers of the corporation are vested in its seven-member board of directors, all of whom are appointed by the governor.  The Rhode Island Airport Corporation is responsible for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the six state-owned airports; and the supervision of all civil airports, landing areas, navigation facilities, air schools and flying clubs. In addition to T. F. Green Airport, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation is responsible for five general aviation airports throughout the state: Block Island, Newport, North Central, Quonset and Westerly. For more information visit RIAC at https://www.pvdairport.com/

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