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Stimulus Help for the QC Airport

Quad City International Airport
Aerial photo from the airport Twitter feed on April 3, 2020

The Quad City International Airport will receive some welcome help from Washington during the pandemic. The federal stimulus bill includes 8.1 million dollars for operating and maintenance expenses.

Executive Director Ben Leischner says while air travel and revenue have dropped precipitously, the airport's fixed costs have not - for example its electrical bill totals about 500,000 dollars year.

"We have seen more than a 90 per cent reduction in our non-aeronautical revenue, which are dollars generated from things like parking, food and beverage, and retail sales in the terminal."

Before the pandemic, about 1,000 people a day boarded planes at the Quad City Airport, now that's dropped to just 20 to 30 passengers a day.

But on the bright side, Leischner says the pandemic actually happened at a good time for the airport.

"We were building up cash reserves, we were getting ready to look at doing improvements at our existing, aged facilities, so our cash reserves were at an all-time high."

The airport has about 100 full-time employees who are all still on the job, but in some cases doing different work from before. It's the tenants who've been hit the hardest - the restaurant and rental car companies have had to layoff most of their workers.