By David Shepardson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Senate Republicans on Monday backed an additional $10 billion in assistance for airports that face a dramatic shortfall in revenue because of a travel falloff due to the coronavirus.
The Republican proposal also calls for $75 million to maintain essential air service to rural communities and $50 million for the Federal Aviation Administration’s administrative costs related to air traffic control tower cleanings, janitorial services and supplies.
Earlier this month, U.S. airports asked for a new $13 billion bailout after Congress in March approved $10 billion in government assistance for airports.
The Republican summary said the nation’s airports “are facing a record drop in passengers.”
The spending bill does not have additional funding for U.S. airlines or other industries that sought assistance, such as restaurants.
In June, six unions representing aviation workers told top lawmakers another $32 billion in payroll aid is needed to keep hundreds of thousands of workers employed through March 31 after Congress in March approved $32 billion for the aviation industry to keep workers on payroll through Sept. 30, including $25 billion for passenger airline payroll costs.
U.S. airports collectively held $100 billion in debt at the end of 2018 and some previously warned they might not be able to make debt payments without the initial $10 billion.
(Reporting by David Shepardson in Washington; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)