RDU Airport receives $ 50.7 million in federal COVID aid
Raleigh-Durham International Airport will receive another injection of cash from the federal government to offset the losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
RDU receives nearly $ 50.7 million from the US bailout bill, approved by Congress in March and signed by President Joe Biden. The money is the $ 8 billion RDU portion the Federal Aviation Administration Act is allocating to help U.S. airports recover from the decline in revenue when COVID-19 severely restricted air travel.
The Triangle’s two Democratic Congressmen, Deborah Ross from Raleigh and David Price from Durham, announced the grant this week.
The money must be used to cover salaries and other operating costs and to pay off debts. It cannot be used for construction projects. RDU cut its budget by nearly 45% last year, including saving $ 96 million on investment projects like expanding security control in Terminal 2 and adding four gates in Terminal 1.
The federal government has now given RDU $ 100 million to help overcome the pandemic. The airport received $ 49.5 million last year through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or CARES Act, as well as nearly $ 18 million from the state. That money made up about 45% of the RDU budget last year.
State restrictions and the fear of cramped space decimated air traffic in spring 2020; in April, only about 40,000 passengers passed RDU, about as many as on a normal day before the pandemic.
Business has recovered but is still about a third below pre-pandemic levels. Earlier this month, the airport and a coalition of triangle companies launched a broadcast and print advertising campaign to encourage people to fly again and support the region’s economic recovery. The motto of the campaign is “Keep it up”.