The latest COVID relief funding bill, passed by Congress in late December and signed by President Trump Dec. 27, includes about $2 billion in support for the nation’s airports, including $45 million for general aviation airports.
H.R. 133 also includes an additional $20 billion for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program, which supports grants to small businesses experiencing temporary hardship and loss of revenue as a result of the pandemic. The package also provides an additional $15 billion in payroll support for air carriers, which also applies to many general aviation operators and businesses, and $284 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for small businesses to continue to meet their payroll obligations.
General aviation helps businesses of all sizes to transport tools and personnel, access plants and supply chains, and reach thousands of communities that are inaccessible by commercial air service. About 85% of the businesses that utilize general aviation are small- to mid-sized companies, and there are more than 5,000 airports across the country, with most commercial traffic operating out of the top 30 airports. As a result, for thousands of communities across the country, these aircraft and airports are a literal lifeline, supporting economic activity emergency services such as fire-fighting, law enforcement, medical transportation, search and rescue, powerline (sic) maintenance and pipeline inspection, and many other services, alliance officials note.
General aviation has also been vital in distributing personal protection equipment (PPE) to hospitals and rural communities across the county, as well as test samples to labs, and many other supplies to communities and patients in need.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, general aviation traffic has been down more than 20%, compared with the same period in 2019, alliance officials noted.
The City is starting work on a designing and constructing a new maintenance hangar at the Airport in 2021. The new hangar location will be at the south end of Wright Brothers Dr. Design of the new maintenance hangar is included in the 2021 City of Georgetown fiscal year budget at $750,000. The hangar should be complete in early 2022. The maintenance hangar will be used for the storage and maintenance of all Airport maintenance associated equipment, as well as all tools and other equipment used to facilitate the maintenance of airport buildings, land, and runways. Once the engineer/architect has been selected, there may be an opportunity for community and stakeholder input.
The Georgetown Municipal Airport has a significant impact on the local economy. That impact can be measured by job creation and by total economic impact of activity generated by the Airport such as equipment sales, services, and events.
A study by the Texas Department of Transportation in 2018 found that the Georgetown Municipal Airport had a total economic impact of 546 jobs and $14.8 million in payroll. The total output from the Airport was $52.7 million.
See the full report at http://ftp.dot.state.tx.us/pub/txdot-info/avn/economic-impacts/2018/eco17-gtu.pdf.