The Biden administration will offer nearly $500 million dollars to hundreds of aircraft manufacturing companies, the Department of Transportation announced Monday.
The $482.3 million in funding will be awarded to 313 U.S. companies based in 37 states and Puerto Rico, according to the Department of Transportation. These funds are part of the Aviation Manufacturing Jobs Protection Program established in Democrats’ $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that President Joe Biden signed into law in March.
“For the past year and a half, our aviation industry workers have helped keep this economy moving, including by supporting the delivery of lifesaving medical equipment and vaccines,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in a statement. “The funding announced today will save jobs and support the workers who have supported us throughout the pandemic.”
The program will offer aerospace manufacturers enough funds to pay half of their payroll for certain employee categories for up to six months, according to the DOT announcement. The funds could protect nearly 23,000 jobs made vulnerable by economic conditions during the pandemic.
The DOT said more than 100,000 aerospace jobs have been lost due to the pandemic and hundreds of thousands more remain at risk.
Protecting vulnerable aerospace jobs could benefit both the airline industry and supply chain, the agency said. About 1.2 million of the 2.2 million aerospace workers in the U.S. contribute to the supply chain.
One of the reasons for increasing inflation is supply chain delays, according to some economists.
About 60% of the 313 companies that will receive funds have fewer than 100 employees, the DOT said, and just 20% percent of the firms employ more than 250 workers.
The Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems will receive $75.5 million, more than any other program recipient. Public funds are projected to protect 3,214 jobs at the company.
During the coronavirus outbreak in 2020, local officials placed tight restrictions on various economic activities, wreaking havoc on the airline industry. While the number of daily air travelers has increased substantially in 2021 compared to last year, it remains below 2019 levels, Transportation Security Administration data showed.
The federal government has given U.S. airline companies $54 billion in relief since 2020, the Associated Press reported.
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