MIA and MCO harness $377m in US grant funds to assist airport partners

By Luke Barras-hill |


The Greater Orlando Aviation Authority has deferred around $17m in specified payments due in May. Source: GOAA.

Orlando International (MCO) and Miami International (MIA) Airports have been awarded a slug of federal government funding to support their respective operations during the coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis.

MIA and MCO are due to receive payments of $207 million and $170 million, respectively, under the Coronavirus Aid and Economic Security (CARES) Act following a US Department of Transportation announcement on Tuesday (14 March).

The financial assistance forms part of a $10bn outlay aimed at providing economic relief for US airports impacted by Covid-19.

[To view a full list of US airports awarded CARES Act grant funding, click here].


Phil Brown, CEO, Greater Orlando Aviation Authority said: “We are grateful to the Administration and Congress for these funds that will allow us to address the devastating impact of Covid-19 on operations at Orlando International and Orlando Executive airports.

“Large, medium and small airports have all been dealt significant revenue impacts by this pandemic. As a result there has been a reduction of flights, passengers and business activities. This funding can be used for any lawful purpose including payroll, operations and maintenance as well as debt service.”

MIA has taken the largest share of cash available to those airports in Florida eligible for the assistance, which is aimed at supporting operations and plugging lost incomes due to the sharp downturn in passenger traffic.


Miami International Airport has been awarded $207 million in Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding. Source: MIA/mdad5lores.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez said: “We are extremely pleased with the $207 million in relief funding for MIA. I appreciate the federal government for recognising MIA’s critical role as the busiest international gateway in Florida and third busiest in the nation.

“This aid will certainly help our county’s largest economic engine, which supports one out of every five jobs locally, make a speedier return to normal operations after the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic subside.

Lester Sola, MIA Director and CEO added: “As we maintain our passenger and cargo operations and prepare for travel demand to return, these monies will aid us in developing new protocols and facility renovations designed to enhance the travel experience and improve employee safety.”

Officially announcing the $10bn funding drive on Tuesday (14 March), US Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao said: “This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs.”

The US Department of Transport’s Federal Aviation Administration says it will use a ‘streamlined application and grant agreement process’ to ensure the funding lands in the hands of airports that require it.

Funds are available as soon as the airport sponsor executes a grant agreement.


US airports are in line to receive $10bn in financial assistance following a US Senate decision last month.


In separate but related news, the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA) has agreed to postpone approximately $17m in airport partners payments at Orlando International Airport due for May.

During a ‘virtual’ Board meeting held yesterday (15 April), the Board approved ‘a limited deferral of defined forms of revenue’ to assuage significant pressure on in-terminal concessionaires, airlines and on-site car rental operators.

Orlando suffered from a 90% fall in passenger traffic between 28 March – 8 April compared with the same period year on year.

Further actions will be presented and considered at future meetings, the Board confirmed.

The Board of County Commissioners at MIA approved a $64.8m financial relief plan earlier this month to help airport business partners.

Effective for a three-month period (1 March – 31 May) with the ability to extend for a further three months, the plan includes a waiver of minimum annual guarantee monthly payments, monthly rent and other related fees for tenants contracted to pay rent, MAG and percentage fees, while still requiring operators to make payments based on a percentage of gross revenues.



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