The Federal Aviation Administration has awarded almost $1 billion to U.S. airports as travel increases to meet or surpass pre-pandemic levels. The funding will be used to update a variety of airport safety measures.
The funding is meant to help meet the growing demand for air travel and invests in key areas to help get travelers in and out of airports more quickly, new baggage systems, larger security checkpoints and improved ground transportation.
Other projects increase terminal sustainability and improve accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Several grants will address the needs of aging air traffic control towers.
Some grants were focused on updating and expanding terminals to meet increased travel demand while ensuring traveler safety. Plans included:
- Replacing a terminal that is beyond its useful life and operating above capacity. Recent data shows aeronautical demand at 109 percent of pre-pandemic levels. Other above-capacity terminals will be similarly updated and replaced.
- Terminal expansion projects that add new passenger security screening checkpoint lanes and additional gates.
- Bringing security checkpoints to current TSA standards.
- Updating terminals to meet or exceed ADA standards.
Other grants were focused on structural safety of airports damaged either by age or weather. Plans included:
- Rehabilitating wall surfaces, replacing and waterproofing tunnels and installing new drainage systems.
- Lengthening and widening airport access roads.
- Improving road signage.
- Replacing metal panels on air traffic control towers.
- Raising towers above flood stages.
- Replacing mechanical, electrical and HVAC systems.
Grants focused on energy efficiency and mitigating climate change included:
- Converting from fossil fuels to electric when possible.
- Reducing carbon emissions to improve climate resilience.
- Improving airport energy efficiency.
Other grants contained an element that will go to improving airport access in smaller communities.