MIAMI The US Senate passed a US$1.9tn stimulus bill that will bring in a series of new federal spending, including US$23bn for the Aviation sector.

Help on the Way

“I promised the American people help was on the way,” President Joe Biden said Saturday, celebrating the passage of the “American Rescue Plan,” Washington Post reported. “Today, I can say we’ve taken one more giant step of delivering on that promise.”

The passage of this stimulus bill is considered a major victory for the Biden administration, according to Washington Post.

Frontier N301FR Airbus A320-251N. Luke Ayers/Airways

US$14bn for Airlines, US$8bn for Airports

The bill also included provisions for the aviation industry, which is gradually recuperating from the effects of what can be described as the “gravest crisis the airline industry has ever known”: the COVID-19 pandemic.

The legislation sets aside a total of US$23bn for the airline industry, according to Bloomberg. Of this US$23bn, the bill sets apart US$14bn of the funds for eligible airlines in need of them. 

Contractors working for these carriers are also set to receive US$1bn to extend a payroll support program that will expire on March 31, 2021. In addition, airports will get $8bn for expenses related to implementing COVID-19 prevention measures in facilities and among staff.

Other measures in the bill related to the aviation industry include provisions for vaccination programs: a prerequisite for complete normalization of air travel as COVID-19 wanes.

jetBlue N523JB Airbus A320-232. Matthew Calise/Airways

Aviation Industry to Benefit from Positive Externalities of Other Programs

The legislation assigns US$160bn to fund vaccination and COVID-19 testing programs to end the pandemic. Some of the money from this $160bn will help establish a national vaccine distribution program offering free COVID-19 vaccine shots to all US residents regardless of immigration status.

The bill also allocates money to fund the creation of community vaccination centers and the deployment of mobile vaccination units in rural areas. The funds are also assigned to procuring rapid-result tests, extending lab capacities, and supporting local authorities to conduct testing regimens in their jurisdictions.

Featured Image: American Airlines N803AL Boeing 787-8. Lorenzo Giacobbo/Airways