Almost seven years after Sept. 11 — and long after airlines received billions of bailout dollars — the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a final rule April 9 authorizing up to $17 million to reimburse GA businesses at five Washington, D.C.-area airports for financial losses incurred while they were shut down by the federal government.
A 2005 DOT study found that GA businesses at the five airports — College Park Airport, Potomac Airfield, Washington Executive/Hyde Field, Washington D.C. South Capitol Street Heliport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport — lost about $10.4 million between Sept. 12, 2001 and Jan. 23, 2004, including more than $6 million at Signature Flight Services at Reagan National.
The final rule requires an independent audit before issuing any funds, and recipients must release the government from any further claims.
“These funds are a step in the right direction and recognize the considerable economic hardships government restrictions have had, and continue to have, on these businesses,” said Earl Lawrence, EAA vice president of industry and regulatory affairs. “But it is disappointing that it has taken so long and that the procedures are so difficult for those affected.”
Airlines received $4.6 billion in federal aid immediately after Sept. 11.
Deadline to apply for benefits is June 9.