U.S. awarding $482.3 million in aviation manufacturing assistance By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The 787 Aft Body manufacturing area is pictured at Boeing South Carolina in North Charleston, South Carolina, United States March 25, 2018. REUTERS/Randall Hill

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Transportation Department said it was offering $482.3 million in aviation manufacturing assistance to 313 businesses, including up to $75.5 million to Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE:).

Congress earlier this year created a $3 billion aviation manufacturing payroll subsidy program that will cover up to half of eligible companies’ compensation costs for as long as six months. Ohio-based Parker-Hannifin Corp (NYSE:) was offered up to $39.7 million, Connecticut-based Hexcel (NYSE:) Corp offered $20.9 million and Astronics (NASDAQ:) Corp $14.7 million.

The companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Of the 313 companies receiving funds, 188 of them — 60% — had fewer than 100 employees at the end of calendar year 2020.

The funds will helping support as many as 22,500 jobs nationwide.

More than 100,000 jobs have been lost in the aerospace industry since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Transportation Department. Before then, the U.S. aerospace industry employed approximately 2.2 million workers, including 1.2 million who worked in various parts of the supply chain nationwide.

The offer requires companies to commit to not conducting furloughs without employee consent or laying off employees covered by subsidies during the six-month period.

Companies eligible include aircraft, engine, propeller or component manufacturers and companies that repair or overhaul airplanes and parts.

The subsidy program cannot cover more than 25% of an employer’s total U.S. workforce as of April 2020 and can only cover employees with total annual compensation of $200,000 or less.

To qualify, a company must have involuntarily furloughed or laid off at least 10% of its total workforce, or have experienced at least a 15% decline in 2020 total operating revenues.

Applications for a second round of funding closed Sept. 1 and additional funding recipients will be announced this fall, the Transportation Department said.

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