Seattle-Tacoma International Airport will receive more than $192 million in relief funds, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Tuesday.
The grant is part of a $10 billion package of aid disbursed through the CARES Act stimulus package for airports struggling under travel restrictions meant to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Airport-industry group Airports Council International began lobbying for the money in mid-March, as flight cancellations and social-distancing measures ballooned airports’ loss projections.
Funds were allocated, in part, based on airport traffic. Atlanta, by some measures the country’s busiest airport, received $338 million through the program.
At Sea-Tac, airlines have cut their capacity by more than 50% and the airport has seen a 90% drop in passenger traffic compared to last year, airport director Lance Lyttle said recently.
Other Washington airports received smaller chunks of money. Spokane International was awarded $29.6 million, and Boeing Field, Pangborn Memorial Airport in Wenatchee, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport and Walla Walla Regional Airport received $18 million apiece.
The rest of the 62 grants to Washington airports ranged in size from $5.8 million for the Tri-Cities Airport to $1,000 for municipal airports in Rosalia and Cle Elum.
Airports are required to spend the money on capital expenditures, operating expenses including payroll and utilities, or debt payments. The terms of the grant also stipulate that primary airports like Sea-Tac cannot lay off more than 10% of their direct employees.
The CARES Act also nixes cost-sharing requirements for some federal airport grants already disbursed in 2020.