PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia International Airport is investing $6 million in a COVID-19 recovery plan to help airlines restore domestic, international and cargo flights grounded by the pandemic.
Stephanie Wear, director of air service and cargo development at the airport, said the airport is willing to waive landing, ground parking and other fees for airlines.
“So the incentive program is designed to help bring those international carriers back and get us flying internationally again,” Wear said. “But it also helps domestic and cargo. Cargo is a huge opportunity right now.”
Departures to U.S. cities are climbing at Philadelphia International Airport, but CDC and State Department travel restrictions are keeping international flights to Europe and Asia on hold for now.
“We had six carriers flying flights internationally before COVID,” Wear said. “Last summer, we had 22 daily flights just to the European Union alone and we’ve gone to zero.”
Wear said the airport wants to be in a position to attract those airlines and flight routes to return when restrictions are lifted, as well as strengthen partnerships.
“So the incentive program is capped at $6 million for the entirety of the program,” she continued. “And, the money comes from the airport, so we have a discretionary fund and we were able to get a state grant to help us with this.”
Pennsylvania contributed about $2 million, or a third of the funds.