Gulf Shores International Airport awarded Airport Rescue Grant

Melanie LeCroy / melanie@gulfcoastmedia.com
Posted 1/12/22

Gulf Shores International Airport will receive a $59,000 grant through the Airport Rescue Grant Program for fiscal year 2022. The funds are intended to reimburse the airport for operating costs …

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Gulf Shores International Airport awarded Airport Rescue Grant

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Gulf Shores International Airport will receive a $59,000 grant through the Airport Rescue Grant Program for fiscal year 2022. The funds are intended to reimburse the airport for operating costs incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 was signed into law by President Joe Biden March 11, 2021 and includes $8 billion in funds to be awarded as economic assistance to eligible U.S. airports to prevent, prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2021, the airport received two Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (ARES) Act grants: $23,000 to reimburse COVID-19 expenses and $166,677 for pavement maintenance.
“I’m proud to announce that the Gulf Shores International Airport will be receiving a $59,000 grant to reimburse them for extra operating costs they took on because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Gulf Shores International Airport is critically important to the growth and economic strength of Baldwin County, so I will continue doing all I can to be an ally for them in Congress,” Sen. Jerry Carl said.
The newly rebranded Gulf Shores International Airport finished construction of a $6.1 million air traffic control tower in November 2021. The project was fully funded by grants from the Federal Aviation Administration and the CARES Act secured by the joint efforts of Sen. Richard Shelby and U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne. The 95-foot-tall tower is staffed with two air traffic controllers working eight-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The next phase of the project is the building of a passenger terminal and according to Fuller, the Airport Authority is in the selection process for the firm that will design, build and operate it. He went on to say that the firms have established relationships with airlines and would help market the airport. He estimates the passenger terminal will cost around $15 million.
In September 2020 during the groundbreaking for the air traffic control tower, John Pearsall, CEO of Elite Airways, said his company intended to begin scheduled flight service in and out of Gulf Shores but would not release details on the destinations or timeline. Fuller would not comment on any current airline commitments but did say everything is contingent on the new terminal completion and details will be forthcoming.
Local officials have commented that the addition of commercial flights to Gulf Shores will ease traffic issues the area contends with during the summer and will also help reach a broader market.