CHARLESTON, W.Va. — More than $9.3 million has landed at airports in West Virginia from the Department of Transportation for coronavirus relief from the federal stimulus package.
More than half of that, $4.8 million is going to Charleston’s Yeager Airport, the busiest airport in West Virginia. Airport Public Affairs Manager Chris Williams said the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Airport Grants will provide relief to lost revenue.
“This is going to help us offset any losses we have from the number of flights and the number of passengers being down. It’s also going to allow us to meet payroll, too,” he told MetroNews.
Williams said airlines are continuing to cancel flights and enplanement numbers are down around 90 percent from the first two months of the year before the pandemic.
Even with the dramatic downturn, Yeager continues to work through its continuity plan and no layoffs have been needed.
“Our leadership has made some really smart financial decisions before this even happened. As a result of that we were already set up pretty well financially to withstand something like this and keep our employees,” Williams said.
“Now with this money coming in from the CARES Act we are better set up to keep all our employees on board.
The exact amount headed to Yeager is $4,810,956. More than $10 billion is being given to airports nationwide through the act
Among the 23 other West Virginia airports receiving funding include Raleigh County Memorial BKW in Beckley ($69,000), Mercer County BLF in Bluefield ($69,000), Upshur County Regional in Buckhannon ($20,000), North Central West Virginia CKB in Clarksburg ($1,151,897), Elkins-Randolph County-Jennings Randolph F EKN in Elkins ($30,000), Fairmont Municipal-Frankman Field 4G7 in Fairmont ($30,000), Tri-State/Milton J Ferguson Field HTS in Huntington ($1,727,300), Greenbrier Valley LWB in Lewisburg ($1,042,623), Logan County 6L4 in Logan ($30,000), Eastern WV Regional/Shepherd Field MRB in Martinsburg ($30,000), and Morgantown Municipal-Walter L Bill Hart Field MGW in Morgantown ($69,000).
“West Virginia airports are vital to the state’s economy which is being hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said in a released statement. “This funding will allow West Virginia’s airports to maintain operations and payroll, continue paying down debts, complete existing projects, and move forward with new developments.
“This necessary economic relief will ensure our commercial and general aviation airports can continue to provide West Virginians and our visitors with access to our great state and other services. While I am pleased to see West Virginia receive this funding, we must work to ensure that rural states like West Virginia receive dedicated funding in the next emergency funding package.”
Other airports include Marshall County MPG in Moundsville ($30,000), Mid-Ohio Valley Regional PKB in Parkersburg ($69,000), Grant County W99 in Petersburg ($20,000), Philippi/Barbour County Regional 79D in Phillipi ($20,000), Kee Field I16 in Pineville ($1,000), Mason County 3I2 in Point Pleasant ($30,000), Jackson County I18 in Ravenswood ($20,000), Summersville SXL in Summersville ($20,000), Braxton County 48I in Sutton ($20,000), Wheeling Ohio County HLG in Wheeling ($69,000), and Appalachian Regional EBD in Williamson ($20,000).
U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito said in a released statement, “Though the economic impact of this pandemic has been broad, perhaps no segment has been hit as hard as our air transportation system. Last weekend, less than 100,000 passengers across our entire country traveled via air. This has had ramifications across the industry, including our regional airports.
“Investing in our regional airports not only keeps our passengers and personnel safe, but it also fuels growth and boosts our economy. This funding is a critical investment from the DOT, and something I advocated for as we negotiated coronavirus relief. We must take the necessary steps to safeguard our airports and those who work there while we battle the COVID-19 pandemic. This his funding is an important step.”