Congressman Cohen Asks FAA to Suspend Airport Payments Until Equitable Funding Formula is Found

April 21, 2020
Press Release
Says it is “peculiar” that small airports get unneeded windfalls at large airports’ expense

MEMPHIS – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure’s Subcommittee on Aviation, today wrote Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) Stephen Dickson and Deputy Administrator Daniel K. Elwell requesting that funding to airports provided in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act be suspended until an equitable funding formula can be found.

Congressman Cohen noted that some airports are set to receive funding underwriting their operations for decades while other, larger airports will only be receiving funding to sustain their operations for three or four months. Congressman Cohen also noted that McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, with far fewer flights and passengers, is set to receive more money than Memphis International Airport.

Congressman Cohen’s letter reads in part:

“This is peculiar for several reasons including that the McGhee Tyson Airport had 2.5 million passengers in 2019 compared to the 4.6 million passengers that flew through the Memphis International Airport in the same year. That does not include Memphis’s air cargo volume, which was 4.47 million metric tons of cargo in 2018…

“The purpose of the CARES Act emergency relief is to support U.S. airports that are experiencing severe economic disruption caused by the COVID-19 public health emergency, not to bolster or double smaller airports’ budgets based on an arbitrary formula.

“I respectfully request that the FAA suspend its CARES Act payments to airports immediately until Congress can address this severe funding flaw that is prohibiting adequate support for our nation’s airports.”

See the entire letter here.