Piedmont Triad International Airport to pursue $10.6 million COVID-relief grant

Piedmont Triad News

GREENSBORO, N.C. (WGHP) — Piedmont Triad International Airport could receive about $10.6 million thanks for a COVID-relief grant from the Federal Aviation Authority.

The airport’s board of directors on Thursday approved Executive Director Kevin Baker’s request to pursue the $10,589,382 available in what he called an Airport Rescue Grant.

The grants, part of the American Rescue Plan signed into law by President Joe Biden in March 2021, are designed to help the airport respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They can go to a lot of different purposes,” Baker told the board. “They are different from typical grants.”

Some grants require matching funds and very narrow purposes. The FAA says that these grants, appropriated based on an airport’s size and traffic, are 100% “federal share” and are designed to provide “the economic recovery of the national airport system.”

PTI, like most airports, went through a significant downturn in business during the throes of the pandemic and still is seeing passenger traffic below the 2019 level.

Baker told the board traffic is “coming back up overall compared to 2019 base. Cargo is up 40% over that same period.

“This is a good indicator of things to come. We are moving ahead.”

The financial report heard by the board was positive, with both revenue and expenses meeting budget. The specifics weren’t stated during the Zoom session.

After the meeting, PTAA spokesperson Shannon Allen distributed a memo that shows passenger counts in November were up 157% from 2020 and are up 58% year to date. But those figures were 22% lower than November 2019.

The passenger forecast for January is 17% lower than 2019, and February figures to be down by 14%, which Baker cited as a benchmark for his positive feelings.

Also at the meeting, the board:

  • Approved a contract with The Budd Group of Winston-Salem to provide custodial service at the airport. The contract runs through January 2024.
  • Approved Lindsay Architecture as the contractor to replace and move a cooling tower off the roof of the terminal. That transfer will cost about $170,650.

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