Jackson Hole Airport has accepted a $3.2-million grant from the FAA to help defray some of the costs incurred as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Airport Director Jim Elwood told town and county leaders early this week that the airport drew down inventory of items necessary for day-to-day operations despite reduced income; and the grant will help offset some of those expenses. However, he said one major expense was an improvement to the terminal air-handling system to improve filtration.
Elwood said, “They installed some special bio-UV inserts into our HVAC system which then further cleaned the air before it was released into the terminal building. That was done within a matter of a couple week of the pandemic breaking.”
Elwood told the two governing bodies that the airport had budgeted in response to the anticipated decline in revenue, but discovered the income was actually about 27% higher than anticipated and as a result, the expenses were 4% below what was projected. In fact, Elwood said accounting for the period from March 2020 to March 2021, enplanements were down 42% in Jackson Hole compared with a national average drop of 72% in enplanements – so Jackson Hole fared better than most airports in the loss of passenger traffic. Elwood explained that the grant, which is part of a special relief package that had been approved by Congress in December 2020, required acceptance by the local governing bodies who are cosigners with the airport.