Today we received word on how the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for airports will be allocated. This is the funding from the federal government, approved by Congress and signed by the President. While it is not as much as we had hoped for, it is more than we originally thought we may get. Per the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), LAX will receive $323.6 million. In addition, Van Nuys will receive $157,000. We received the second most of any airport in the country as the funding formula took debt and enplanements into strong account. LAWA and the Mayor’s office lobbied hard in support of this funding and a favorable allocation formula, and that work paid off.
I was on a call this morning with U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and FAA Associate Administrator for Airports Kirk Shaffer, and they stressed that they plan to get this funding out as early as next week through an expedited application procedure.
This is not additional money for new projects or to fund non-essential items. Rather, this will be a necessary cash infusion at a time that LAWA is seeing a drastic reduction in revenues. The funds will allow us to cover costs, including our debt service payments, payroll and our modernization program. While it will not nearly cover all of our costs, it will help us get through our current fiscal reality. We will continue to work for additional support for LAWA through existing and future funding packages.
Additionally, as I mentioned yesterday, last Friday Mayor Garcetti issued a Public Order that extends the previously issued “Safer At Home” directives until May 15, including the requirement that all non-essential workers stay at home. The order also reinforces the previous order to maintain at least 6 feet separation between each other. In the spirit of that order, we have encouraged all of our airline partners to review their ticket counter and hold room queuing protocols and find ways to provide guidance to passengers as to how they can maintain 6 feet of separation, e.g., through floor markings, signage or other methods. We will be doing the same outreach to our concessions and federal partners as well. We hope to see these new guidance measures in place soon in our terminals, assisting our guests in ensuring they are keeping space between one another when in line.
For those of you who are interested in learning more about COVID-19, the City’s response and public health guidance, the Mayor’s office has a very robust website. Yesterday, he added a new page, COVID-19 Myths. As we’ve all seen, some myths about the virus have taken off, particularly on social media, and this new resource helps shed some light on these topics and dispel common rumors or misconceptions. Take a look and share with others who may benefit from this information.
Furthermore, last night Mayor Garcetti announced that thanks to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, cash assistance will be available for Angelenos who have been economically impacted by COVID-19. The initiative is funded by private donations and is not a City program. The Angeleno Card provides financial assistance for in-need households via no–fee prepaid cards. If you know someone who may qualify, please share this link with them. The fund will be accepting applications between now and April 16, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. People without internet access or who need help applying online may call 213-252-304.
Thank you as always for continuing to review these updates and passing on the information to others when appropriate. I am committed to continuing to share updates on the work being done at LAWA, information from our local, state and federal partners, and resources available to those impacted by COVID-19.
And please remember — if you must be out in public, keep at least 6 feet between yourself and others wherever possible, wear a face covering and continue to practice all the public heath guidelines to reduce the spread of germs.
Please stay healthy and safe!
Interim CEO, LAWA