WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Maryland airports are set to receive over $100 million in aid, as part of the CARES Act to give relief during the coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao announced that 18 of the state’s airports will get $107,731,471 in funding. Nationwide, airports will get $10 billion as part of the $2 trillion CARES Act, also known as the coronavirus stimulus program.READ MORE: Morgan State University Awarded $6.25M From Apple & Google
“This $10 billion in emergency resources will help fund the continued operations of our nation’s airports during this crisis and save workers’ jobs,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao.
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Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is among the state’s airports to get funding, and the “easy come, easy go” airport is now too easy.
“This virus is…so sneaky,” said BWI Executive Director Ricky Smith. “It’s so unpredictable.”
And, the airport is too eerie.
“It’s been kinda slow,” said custodian Herman Merderth.
WJZ Reporter: “Kinda?”
“Yeah, real slow,” Merderth chuckled.
Since the governor’s executive order nearly a month ago, the TSA reports passengers are down more than 90 percent.
“It’s a good sign that people are staying safe. People are staying home,” Smith said.
Airlines have all changed the way they operate during the pandemic. Southwest Airlines stopped its drink and snack service three weeks ago and said they’re using hospital grade disinfectant throughout their fleet. Jet Blue has temporarily suspended its service at BWI.
“We have a lot of dedicated people who are still here working,” Smith said.READ MORE: How One Baltimore Business Owner Is Carrying On The Legacy Of The Women's Industrial Exchange
About 80 of the airport’s businesses are closed.
Passengers, these days, are looking a lot like Bobbi Bloom, a traveling nurse.
She flew in Tuesday from Las Vegas.
“There’s only five of us on my plane. It’s very, very empty in there,” Bloom said.
“It’s definitely a little weird seeing empty planes and not having them filled,” said student London Hershey.
“We talked a lot about social distancing and how to make sure to stay safe,” said her mom, Erin Hershey.
Social distancing is written on the signs.
“Touch points, railings, elevator buttons. They’re cleaning those things multiple times a day,” Smith said.
Despite the drop in traffic, the airport has actually increased its sanitation.
“It’s scary because I’m 65 years old, and in my 65 years, I’ve never seen nothing like this,” Merderth said.
The airport is used to 50,000 to 60,000 passengers a day, but is now down to as low as 1,300 a day now.
The funding is meant to help airports continue operations and replace lost revenue stemming from a lack of travel and other airport business due to the public health emergency, including airport capital expenditures, operating expenses including payroll and utilities, as well as debt payments.MORE NEWS: 5 Suspects, Including 2 Juveniles, Charged In Ocean City Armed Robbery