As America returns to the air, Garver continues working with airports responding to fluid funding solutions.
Impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic continue to touch not only every walk of life, business entity, and industry, but every sector of infrastructure development, too. Perhaps no sector has been impacted more than aviation. According to Airlines for America, U.S. passenger airline operating revenues fell 67 percent from 2019 to February 2021, which put into question some upgrades at airports trying to keep passengers and staff healthy and safe.
Although many airport projects were put on the back burner, Garver’s Aviation Team spent the last year working with airports to identify the critical funding solutions needed to keep serving their customers. The CARES Act and the newly formed Airport Rescue Grants, which were created under the American Rescue Plan Act and allow the FAA to award $8 billion in recovery funds, have both been created in the last year to provide avenues for airports to respond to this unprecedented period.
And as evidenced by a soon-to-be completed future home for a rapidly growing charter airline at the Killeen-Fort Hood Regional Airport in Texas, Garver is equipped to help.
Garver led design services for a new corporate hangar that will house CSI Aviation’s growing staff and fleet of charter jets. The 22,500-square-foot facility will include space for jets and areas for maintenance, as well as staff meeting rooms, dining areas, lodging, and restrooms.
“We worked alongside them to create a space that is comfortable, efficient, and productive,” said Senior Aviation Project Manager Derek Mayo, PE, PMP.
Initial funding was provided by an FAA Military Airport Program grant, but the future tenant’s growth determined a need for a larger facility. Garver worked with the airport to justify more funding — and then the pandemic began. Because of declining enplanements, not only was an additional grant at risk, but so was the airport’s ability to match the original grant.
The solution was found in the CARES Act and additional funds through the Military Airport Program (MAP). Garver worked with the airport on funding justification, which led to an amended grant for additional funding for a larger hangar.
“Without the CARES Act and MAP program, we wouldn’t be able to accommodate a growing business or this larger facility,” said Texas Aviation Director Josh Crawford, PE.
When Garver joined officials from CSI, the airport, and the City of Killeen for a seemingly routine groundbreaking earlier this year, the event also served as a celebration of a project that at one point had been in jeopardy.
“The airport had a tenant with several high-paying jobs they brought to this city, so realizing this vision is a win for everyone,” Mayo said. “Construction represents progress, and we’re here to make that a reality.”
With positive signs of industry recovery now evident — by April 2021, Airlines for America noted a 1,000 percent increase in passengers compared to last year — options for funding are becoming more plentiful. The CARES Act and the Airport Rescue Grants make billions of dollars available to hundreds of airports eager to pick up where they left off.
Funding is still a complex puzzle. But as passenger counts continue to rise again, Garver is helping to put the pieces together. Evidence of that can be found in Killeen.