This story is part of AIN's continuing coverage of the impact of the coronavirus on aviation.
Concerned that Part 135 operators are still having a hard time obtaining payroll support program (PSP) aid from the December Covid-19 relief bill, the National Air Transportation Association (NATA) urged U.S. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen to ensure that the remaining funds get distributed promptly.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021 passed in December had renewed the PSP through March 31, providing an additional $14 billion for air carriers and $1 billion for contractors. “While almost all NATA member applicants filed by the January 14 early consideration deadline for PSP2, many of them, particularly the contractors to the airlines, have not yet been funded,” NATA president and CEO Timothy Obitts said in a March 12 letter to Yellen. “Even more troubling, our members have been challenged to engage anyone within the [Treasury] Department for the purpose of making technical inquiries about their application.” Meanwhile, PSP funding has been processed for the 12 largest air carriers, he noted.
Concerning Obitts is the fact that a third round of PSP is set to be disbursed under the recently-passed American Rescue Plan even though the second round has not been completed. “Those who have not yet received the previous round of PSP2 funding are concerned that implementation of the third round of PSP created [by the American Rescue Plan] may further delay receipt of the PSP2 funding and may complicate the re-application process for this most recent round,” he said.
Obitts added that his members have retained employees on the promise of the second round of PSP funding. “Delays in processing the applications has created a real hardship for these companies, many of which are small businesses,” he concluded.