The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday awarded $1 billion in federal funding to 99 different U.S. airports to help meet the growing demand for air travel. File Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo
Feb. 28 (UPI) — The Federal Aviation Administration Tuesday awarded $1 billion in federal funding to 99 different airports to help meet the growing demand for air travel.
The U.S. Department of Transportation confirmed the funding will go toward everything from renovating terminals to adding security checkpoints and improving the flow and speed of baggage claim.
The money comes from President Joe Biden‘s $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, passed in 2021.
Demand for American air travel has been on the rise this year, as the number of passengers crossing through Transportation Security Administration checkpoints has been higher every day so far in 2023 compared to the two prior years, according to TSA figures.
Amid the rise in demand, the funding aims to ease air travel for the growing number of air travelers.
Earlier this month, a Department of Transportation report found a sharp increase in complaints to U.S. airlines in the fall.
A number of the grants also target aging air traffic control infrastructure, which will improve speed and safety.
Overall, the funding is earmarked for 99 airports in 47 states and two U.S. territories.
“Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience comes at the right time,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement Tuesday.
“These grants will make it faster and easier to check your bags, get through security and find your gate, all while creating jobs and supporting local economies.”
Tuesday’s funding is in addition to the $1 billion announced in July that will also go toward upgrading several U.S. airports.
“Today’s funding doesn’t just improve airport terminals. It creates opportunities in communities large and small for good-paying jobs and a chance to be part of our country’s thriving aviation sector,” Deputy FAA Administrator A. Bradley Mims said in a statement.
Most of the money is going toward projects that are already approved or even under construction.
Almost $11 million is helping to replace a terminal at the Des Moines International Airport in Des Moines, Iowa. The terminal was built in 1948 and has exceeded its lifespan.
Another $29 million will help fund terminal redevelopment at Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah, while $50 million will help rehabilitate and expand passenger access at the 60-year-old Terminal 3 at Chicago’s O’Hare.