The Quad City International Airport is getting $8 million of the federal stimulus package that designated $10 billion to U.S. airports.
With passenger travel down around 90% nationwide, airports are expected to lose billions in revenue, the airport said in a media release. The CARES Act funding will help ensure airports can continue to provide critical infrastructure, allowing for the transport of goods, supplies and essential personnel.
“I am grateful for the support of Congresswoman (Cheri) Bustos, and Senators (Dick) Durbin and (Tammy) Duckworth for their ongoing support,” Benjamin Leischner, A.A.E., executive director of QCIA, said in the release. “We know the long-term impact will be substantial and slow to recover. We feel fortunate that our representatives understand the importance of our state’s aviation industry and continue to be advocates.”
Prior to the novel coronavirus outbreak, the airport had several projects in progress, including partnering with an air service development firm and selecting a design firm to modernize the landside terminal.
The airport said in the release that other “customer-focused” amenities were mere weeks away from launching, including adding valet parking and beginning construction on solar paneled covered parking structures.
“We are still moving forward with our plans - much of the funding for these projects was already coming from the FAA and other federal grants but the way we approach them, and the timing has changed,” Leischner said. “We are assessing our greatest needs, pressing pause on certain projects that depend on customer traffic and tackling other projects that maybe we hadn’t considered a priority but now make perfect sense to complete with fewer passengers, such as repainting parking lots.”
The airport said it is remaining “employee-focused” and keeping all of its direct employees employed and instituting progressive sick leave policies. The airport has nearly 100 direct employees.
The airport remains open and operational for essential travel. Routes may be reduced or canceled so passengers needing to travel are encouraged to stay in contact with their airline. Increased cleaning and social distancing measures have been put in place in accordance with CDC guidelines.