To the Editor:
The aviation industry is among the many groups seriously challenged by the COVID-19 crisis. Fortunately, Senator Susan Collins has stepped up to the plate by providing a critical lifeline to Maine’s airports.
Maine’s airports are significant economic drivers and job creators for the state, supporting 21,000 jobs and $2.2 billion in economic output. COVID-19 is a healthcare crisis, but the pandemic also threatens these local jobs and the economy.
Passenger enplanements have dropped nearly 95 percent at the Portland International Jetport and at least 85 percent at the Bangor International Airport. That plunge in passenger traffic has cut some airports monthly revenue by 75 percent.
Thankfully, Senator Collins immediately understood the dire impact COVID-19 places on Maine’s economy and the 21,000 airport jobs and took action. She worked across the aisle with Senator Jack Reed (D) to ensure airports were included in the rescue package Congress approved.
By championing the CARES Act – the economic stimulus package in response to COVID-19, Senator Collins has rescued Maine jobs. The CARES Act provides $10 billion for airports and workers, protecting jobs and ensuring these critical pieces of infrastructure can function.
She also worked with local airports and the FAA to ensure Maine received the resources to keep workers on the payroll and keep airports afloat, securing more than $36 million for Maine.
This work has helped offset the financial losses Maine’s airports face, saving thousands of jobs. The last weeks have brought many challenges, but Senator Collins’ swift action has delivered for Mainers.
Kevin Burke, president and CEO of Airports Council International – North America.