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Quad City International Airport to receive $2.8 million from FAA coronavirus grant program

Quad City International Airport to receive $2.8 million from FAA coronavirus grant program


Fliers get in line for TSA to check their carry-on luggage at Quad City International Airport Thursday in Moline in this 2019 file photo. The airport will receive a $2.8 million grant to offset revenue lost because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Quad City International Airport will receive $2.8 million from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program.

Program funding comes from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020 (CRRSA), which awarded $2 billion to airports in the United States. The funding will help to offset lost revenue and provide operational and payroll support. The airport previously received $8 million from the CARES Act.

"As a facility that supports nearly 500 jobs, nearly 100 of which are employed directly by the Metropolitan Airport Authority (MAA), this funding ensures that we can continue to provide the level of service that we are known for while keeping the MAA workforce fully intact,"  Benjamin Leischner, executive director of the Quad City International Airport, said in a release. "I want to thank our elected officials here in Illinois and at the federal level for their support of the transportation sector. Air travel is critical to our country’s infrastructure, and here locally, the airport’s economic impact is more than $500 million per year.

"This exceeded our expectations, and we are thrilled. The safety of air travel, paired with the vaccine rollout and pent-up demand are setting the industry up for a rebound," Leischner said. "We believe the worst is behind us and are cautiously optimistic that we will continue to see improvements throughout 2021."

Ashleigh Johnston, public relations and marketing manager for the Quad City International Airport, said in a release Wednesday that studies show air travel has "some of the lowest rates of transmission, thanks to the filtration systems on board aircraft."

Harvard’s Aviation Public Health Initiative published a study on Feb. 11 concluding the probability of being infected at an airport is very low.

The Quad City International Airport has averaged between 20,000 and 23,000 passengers per month, Johnston said. Direct flights to Denver through United Airlines resumed Feb. 11, and the airport is optimistic Delta's service to Minneapolis and Detroit will resume in the second quarter. 

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With grants, donations, its own reduced income and governmental assistance, the agency is surviving, putting offerings online and, in some cases, continuing with in-person opportunities with adjustments for health safety.

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