Federal funds coming to peninsula airports

The money was made available under the American Rescue Plan Act.

Federal relief funds for local airports made available under the American Rescue Plan Act are on their way to the Kenai Peninsula.

The Kenai Municipal Airport expects to receive about $1.71 million in federal funding within the next few weeks, Kenai Municipal Airport Manager Eland Conway said Tuesday. The funds were made available via a grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration as Airport Rescue Grants.

Grant money can be used to pay for costs related to operations, personnel, cleaning, sanitization, janitorial services, debt service payment and “combating the spread of pathogens,” according to a release from U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office. The funds were announced over the summer and are in addition to federal relief funds the airport received last year.

The airport received just over $1.6 million in federal relief funds in the spring of 2020 to replace “vital revenue” lost because of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to previous Clarion reporting. Those funds could be similarly used for the airport’s capital expenditures, payroll, utilities and debt payments.

Conway said Tuesday that the airport will use the incoming funds according to FAA guidance with specific emphasis on the operation of KMA.

“The Airport Rescue Grant funds will be a tremendous benefit to the airports receiving them,” Conway said via email. “They will offset some of the impacts the COVID-19 Pandemic has had on air travel and the subsequent loss in revenue that airports have borne.”

Also through the program, the Homer Airport will receive about $1.27 million while the Soldotna, Seldovia and Seward airports will each receive $32,000.

More information on the program can be found at faa.gov/airports/airport_rescue_grants/.

Reach reporter Ashlyn O’Hara at ashlyn.ohara@peninsulaclarion.com.