The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will award $8 billion in grants to U.S. airports to keep workers employed, enable construction projects to proceed, and help U.S. airports continue to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funding for the grants comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) of 2021.

The Sacramento County Department of Airports will receive $48.6 million in total, with more than $43.1 million going to airport recovery efforts, and $5.5 million for eligible in-terminal concessionaries.

“This Airport Rescue Plan Act grant will help keep our workers employed and will facilitate the continued recovery of our airlines and tenants as more of our customers begin traveling again,” said Cindy Nichol, Director of Airports for Sacramento County.

Passenger traffic at Sacramento International Airport has been recovering from the nadir in April 2020 when passenger traffic was down 95 percent.  However, the recovery is far from complete, as May 2021 was down 23 percent versus May 2019, and the Airport is projected to finish the fiscal year 2020-2021 down 49.8 percent versus FY2018-2019. 

The ARPA funding provides economic relief to eligible commercial service, reliever and general aviation airports. The money will help keep people safe and employed by reimbursing operational expenses, debt service payments and costs related to combating the spread of pathogens at the airports. Airport operators can also use the money to provide rent relief to in-terminal retail and concession companies. Among other provisions, the legislation requires that airport operators continue to employ at least 90 percent of their pre-pandemic employees.

Additional program information and the amount of funding each airport is eligible for can be found at the FAA’s website.

The Sacramento County Department of Airport is responsible for planning, developing, operating and maintaining the county’s four airports: Sacramento International Airport, Executive Airport, Mather Airport and Franklin Field. Sacramento International Airport offers more than 155 daily nonstop flights on 12 domestic and international carriers to 36 destinations. The regional economic impact of the Sacramento County airport system is more than $4 billion annually. For more information, visit