Fresno Yosemite International Airport to receive nearly $13 million due to COVID-19 pandemic

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Planes are grounded at Fresno Yosemite International Airport as the coronavirus has caused the travel industry to come to a standstill.

Now, the airport is slated to receive nearly $13 million in COVID-19 relief aid in response to the dramatic drop in demand.

"We're down about 95 percent than what we'd normally be down without the COVID-19 scenario, which means passengers don't fly, airports don't make money," says Director of Aviation Kevin Meikle.

The funding is part of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act Program.

For the Fresno airport, that money will help them maintain operations, which costs about $30 million a year.

"We're projected to get $24 million to this next June, and so of the $12.9 million, we're going to use $6 million to get us through this current fiscal year," Meikle said.

Airport officials say on average, more than 3,000 people are flying this time of year, whereas now, there's less than 200 taking off from FAT.

Parking, which is also a mainstream of revenue for the airport, is mostly empty.

Meanwhile, Fresno Yosemite International is serving as a second home to nearly two dozen planes from Sky West that are being stored at the airport.

"What you see is Sky West aircraft and grounded with Alaska Airlines, United Airlines and DELTA 35," Meikle said. "The airlines still need more space in a certain region. They may reach back out and ask if we have that space available."

To get the funding, airports need to have 95 percent of their staff, so airport workers have not been furloughed or fired at FAT.

While things are quiet now, airport directors believe they travel business will take off once again and their normal number of passengers will return in about a year.

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