Happy Monday. I hope everyone had a good weekend, practicing social distancing and staying at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
I want to start out with a reminder that face coverings are now mandatory when you are out in public. (You can read more about the city guidance on face coverings here and see an example of me with a mask at one of our construction sites below.)
For those who are working at LAX or VNY, the recommendation is that you bring your own fabric face covering. If you do not have one, face coverings are available from LAWA, one per person, per day. Please connect with your supervisor if you need a face covering provided to you. These coverings, whether from home or LAWA provided, are to reduce the spread of germs, per the guidance of public health. New research shows that individuals are carrying and spreading the virus without showing any symptoms. Face coverings, in addition social distancing, frequent hand washing, not touching your face, eyes, nose, ears and mouth, and staying home when you are sick will reduce the spread of the virus and the impact on our healthcare systems. Thank you for your diligence in wearing these face coverings whenever you are out in public. It will make a difference to LAWA, our greater community and our healthcare system.
Today, I also want to specifically highlight Van Nuys Airport (VNY) and the work that continues to happen there. We received good news over the weekend, with phase one of a $35.4 million, 15-month construction project to rehabilitate Taxiway A completed on Saturday. The project began in March and phase two is set to begin later this week, weather depending. While aircraft operations are down by about a third at VNY, there are still flights, and our VNY team is making sure that our team and business partners are safe, secure and healthy. Two weeks ago, I joined Board of Airport Commissioners (BOAC) member Nicholas Roxborough for the first of our VNY Economic Task Force meetings. Additionally, our VNY leadership team is participating in weekly calls with master tenants to discuss COVID-19 impacts.
The CARES Act FAQs explain that the $10 billion for airports in the CARES Act will be distributed to Commercial Service Airports, Primary Airports, and General Aviation Airports according to various distribution formulas; that the federal match for all CARES Act funds will be 100%, and that these funds may be used “for any purpose for which airport revenues may be lawfully used.” The FAQs do not detail the distribution formulas, provide allocation numbers, or explain the process that will be used to distribute funds. We continue to work with the FAA and our associations to urge swift and seamless distribution of these critical funds.
The updated guidance for airport sponsors notes that whether to provide rent abatement to tenants is a local decision that should take into account a number of factors, including changed circumstances as a result of the public health emergency, the desire to have solvent tenants when passenger traffic resumes, and the availability of other relief for those tenants. We are taking this guidance into account as we discuss relief options with our partners and the Board of Airport Commissioners. The guidance also notes that airport employees may not be used to conduct public health screening and that airports may not prohibit flights from certain “hot spots.”
The FAA continues to provide new and updated guidance on its Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update page, and I encourage you to visit that site to stay up-to-date on the newest developments.
I hope that you all have a productive, safe and healthy week. Don’t forget about the resources available to all of our team members — our wellness classes and seminars, the employee assistance program and ombudsperson’s office. All of these are there to assist you as we face this temporary but disruptive time.
As you can see below, even as we adjust to this new, temporary normal, we continue to build towards a brighter future. There is much to look forward to at LAX and VNY, and all of you are helping us get there. Thank you again for your commitment to LAWA and one another.
Interim CEO, LAWA