March 21, 2020

Van Hollen Joins Bipartisan Call Urging Trump Administration to Work With Congress to Deliver Relief to U.S. Airports

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) joined Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), both members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, along with a bipartisan group of 38 Senators in calling on the Trump administration to work with Congress to deliver much-needed assistance to airports across the country grappling with the urgent public health challenges posed by the coronavirus. 

In a letter to President Trump, the Senators wrote, “Airports play a key role in our local and regional economies and ensure our constituents have access to the national aviation system. However, the current COVID-19 outbreak is having a significant impact on airports of all sizes. The sudden drop in passenger levels has led to a rapid decline in airport revenues. According to industry association estimates, U.S. airports stand to lose nearly $14 billion in operating revenue this year, based on preliminary data about flight cancellations to date. To make matters worse, airports are facing new operating demands, strains on their ability to meet their debt obligations and increasing pressures to reduce costs.” 

The Senators highlighted the need to provide robust federal assistance and increased flexibility for airports to allocate resources for cleaning equipment, operating expenses and debt service, among other purposes. They also requested that the Trump administration support efforts to ensure carriers continue to provide service to small and rural communities, which are often the first to suffer when airlines are forced to make difficult financial decisions. 

The Senators closed by stating, “We appreciate your attention to this important request. We stand ready to work with you and your administration to help our nation’s airports – and all Americans and small businesses – cope with the growing demands of this global pandemic.” 

Senators Van Hollen and Shaheen were joined by Senators Jerry Moran (R-KS), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), James Risch (R-ID), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Edward Markey (D-MA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Catherine Cortez-Masto (D-NV), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Warner (D-VA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Angus King (I-ME), Doug Jones (D-AL), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Brian Schatz (D-HI) and Jack Reed (D-RI).

The full text of the letter is available here.