MIA receives $39.5 million in COVID-19 relief from second CARES Act grant
Miami International Airport was awarded $39.5 million in COVID-19 relief funding from the federal government, in the second round of airport grants from the Federal Aviation Administration.
The second grant follows $207 million in funding that MIA received last April from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Airport Grant Program – the largest grant for any airport in Florida. MIA has used the first grant to support its ongoing facilitation of essential travel and trade during the pandemic, and to maintain its role as Miami-Dade County’s leading economic engine.
I deeply appreciate the federal government’s ongoing support of MIA and its many service providers, which directly and indirectly support one out of nearly every four jobs in our community. This additional funding will help MIA continue to lead our local tourism industry and economy to a full recovery from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
Since it received the CARES Act grant, MIA has grown from its lowest point of serving 4,000 daily passengers last April to an average of nearly 60,000 passengers per day within the last 30 days. During the 17-day winter holiday peak season from December 21 to January 6, MIA served more than 1.1 million passengers. On January 3, MIA welcomed nearly 90,000 travelers, making it the busiest travel day the airport has seen since the pandemic began.
After the pandemic left only five passenger airlines operating at MIA last April, 29 others have either returned or launched new service, including low-cost carriers Southwest and JetBlue beginning first-time service at MIA within the last four months. Southwest began 12 daily flights in November and JetBlue launched 14 daily flights on February 10.
Southwest is projected to generate more than $853 million in local business revenue and 6,800 jobs in the local economy annually, while JetBlue is estimated to generate nearly $915 million in business revenue and 7,300 jobs annually. With their daily schedules, JetBlue and Southwest will become two of the busiest passenger airlines at MIA, joining American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, and United Airlines. Additionally, MIA hub carrier American Airlines announced on February 8 that it plans to provide 16 percent more seat capacity at MIA this summer than it did in 2019 and expand service to Tel Aviv and Paramaribo.
This latest federal grant provides a tremendous amount of relief to MIA and our concessionaire partners, as we progressively build our passenger traffic back to pre-pandemic levels. The CARES Act grant last year has helped us reach 50 percent of our passenger volume year over year, and this additional funding – along with the many air service launches we continue to receive - will keep us on an upward trajectory in 2021.
MIA also set a record for cargo volume in 2020 with 2.32 million tons. The busiest U.S. airport for international freight ended 2020 with a record 59,000 cargo-only flights as well, which was nearly 8,000 more flights than in 2019.
The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSAA) (Public Law 116-260), signed into law by the President of the United States on December 27, 2020, includes nearly $2 billion in funds to be awarded as economic relief to eligible U.S. airports and eligible concessions at those airports to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. To distribute these funds, the FAA established the Airport Coronavirus Response Grant Program (ACRGP), which makes grants to all airports that are part of the national airport system, including all commercial service airports, all reliever airports, and some public-owned general aviation airports