Federal aid runs out, local aviation hanging hopes on potential 2nd round of CARES Act funding

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PITTSTON TOWNSHIP/AVOCA, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — $25 billion in federal CARES Act relief funds across all aviation and more than $10 billion specifically for our nation’s airports runs comes to a halt today.

Executive director of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (AVP) Carl Beardsley is talking about the more than 400 employees of just the airport, alone, whose first line of protection against massive furloughs and layoffs ran out with the first round of CARES Act funding that went well beyond the runways of AVP.

“All these people live in the community. They go out to dinner and pay taxes and so on and so on so they’re a very important component of who we are,” said Beardsley. “That CARES grant helps the airlines it helps employees, it helps the community, it helps the business travelers all at once.”

Protections runing out Thursday. the commercial side of business has seen better days.

“We are certainly, just like any other airport across the country, we’ve seen significant decreases in the number of passengers are going to the airport,” Beardsley added. “It can be challenging, because when we’re comparing this month or this year to the same month last year, we have significant decreases.”

Talks in the nation’s capitol potentially seeing more investment in aviation in what would be the next round of CARES Act funding. Partner that with growing travel interest and more of the nation reopening? There is hope.

“We’ve seen a bit of a transition. In the past we’ve been predominantly a business airport. But now we’re seeing many more vacationers coming back coming to the airport,” Beardsley said. “Buildings all around they’re making investments to make sure that the airlines are profitable enough where they’re able to continue to offer those slides, because without offering those flights. The airport doesn’t really have much to offer.”

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