Local airports to receive CARES Act funding

PLATTSBURGH — Airports in the tri-county area will have access to emergency federal funding as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) announced Tuesday that New York state airports will collectively receive more than $411 million, allocated by the Federal Aviation Administration.

That includes $2,028,646 for Plattsburgh International Airport, $69,000 for Adirondack Regional Airport in Lake Clear, $30,000 for Lake Placid Airport and $20,000 for Malone-Dufort Airport.

“It’s specifically for … the fiscal impacts that we’re encountering as a result of COVID-19,” said Rodney Brown, deputy administrator of Clinton County, which owns Plattsburgh International Airport.

The figures each airport will receive was based on a formula the FAA used which took into consideration enplanement numbers, debt service and ongoing capital projects, among other factors, he added.

According to a press release, the CARES Act provided funds to increase the federal share for the Airport Improvement Program and other grants planned for fiscal year 2020 to 100%.

The FAA plans to begin releasing funding in April and will provide additional guidance on the Airport Improvement Program next week, the release said.

Brown explained that the Plattsburgh airport will not receive the funding in a lump sum as a grant. Rather, it may be disbursed on a reimbursement basis, where the airport has to demonstrate incurred costs or losses as a result of COVID-19.

For example, while March is typically one of Plattsburgh International’s best months, with people traveling to Florida and going on spring break, this year it was dismal with so few people flying out, Brown said.

The Plattsburgh airport’s primary revenue generator — which it relies on to pay its debt service on borrowings for capital improvements — is parking lot fees, he continued, and that revenue stream has also not done well since the beginning of last month.


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