Monday, January 18, 2021

Angelina County Airport (KLFK) receives stimulus funds

The Angelina County Airport will receive stimulus funds from the federal government as a part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.

The government allocated $2 billion in funds to eligible U.S. airports to prevent, prepare for and respond to the coronavirus disease.

"This new grant program will provide much-needed economic relief to airports around the country as they address the COVID-19 public health emergency," outgoing U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine L. Chao said. She resigned following the breach of the U.S. Capitol.

Non-primary commercial service and general aviation airports will share $45 million based on their airport categories. The Angelina County Airport is a regional airport, and last year it received $69,000 from the CARES Act. The exact amount it will receive this year has not yet been determined.

Airport manager Gary Letney said 2020 ended up being a surprisingly great year when everything was said and done. The cafe had the best year it ever had in 2019, and at the start of 2020, it was going strong.

In March, the county shut down because of COVID-19, and everything came to a halt. However, sales came back to even when they opened back up in June, Letney said.

Since then, sales have gone to about 10% above normal.

Fuel sales were similar. In 2019, they had their best year since 1998. Then sales were matching in the beginning of 2020 until the pandemic hit, when they went to about 80% down.

However, they rose to about even sales in June, and increased to about 10% above normal with a record month in October and a record day in November, Letney said.

"It was very surprising," he said. "That's actually not what's happening at all airports. Everybody is saying they're down, they're down, they're down. When we talk to the fuel suppliers, they're real surprised we're running as good as we are. So we're looking for a good year."

However, the airport is full. A plane occupies every hangar, so they need to push for growth, Letney said. They have a grant being put in currently for taxiways to be built.

Letney said they should end 2020 in the black $20,000-$30,000.

"2021 is starting out about how 2020 ended. The cafe is looking good. Fuel sales are looking how they were," Letney said. "We're running about the same numbers, so everything's looking good."

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