Little Rock National Airport plans outreach event on Nov. 16 for minority-owned businesses

Little Rock National Airport plans outreach event on Nov. 16 for minority-owned businesses

BCN Staff – Nov. 11, 2021 — The Bill and Hillary Clinton National Airport is reaching out to small and minority firms in Arkansas looking to do business with the state’s largest airport that makes a $1.6 billion annual impact to the state’s economic output.

On Nov. 16, the former Adams Field, which changed its name in 2012 in honor of former President Bill and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, will host an outreach event to discuss upcoming contract opportunities and provide details on becoming certified as a disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE). This free event will be held from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. at Holiday Inn at 3201 Bankhead Drive, across the street from the airport. Advanced registration is required at clintonairport.com. Seating is limited, officials said.

Airport officials said the attendees will learn about contract opportunities in 2022 for web and graphic design, legal services, engineering, government affairs, interior design, waste management and vending as well as network with other businesses.

As Arkansas’ largest commercial airport serving more than 2 million passengers pre-Covid and now experiencing a strong recovery, Bill and Hillary Clinton National is home to six airlines with approximately 70 arrivals and departures each day. The airport is self-supporting using no local, state or federal tax dollars for operations.

“Clinton National Airport and our governing body, the Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission, are committed to increasing opportunities for disadvantaged, small, minority and women-owned businesses,” said Bryan Malinowski, executive director of Arkansas’ busiest airline hub. “We’re focused on helping strengthen businesses so they can ultimately compete at a larger level within the marketplace.”

For more information about Clinton National’s Business Diversity Program, please visit the airport’s website here. Information can be found under the Bids and Solicitations section under the Business tab. 

The outreach by the Little Rock National Airport comes only days after Congress on Nov. 6 approved the Biden administration’s $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan that sets aside over $25 billion in federal funding to all 50 states to upgrade U.S. airports infrastructure. That total does not include billions of dollars in additional funding for Arkansas to pay for other transportation-related infrastructure projects such as rebuilding the highways, roads, bridges and the nation’s aging broadband network.

Also, the airline and aviation industry is expected to get a huge boost of economic activity in the coming weeks and months after the Biden administration announced plans last month to reopen international airways and ease restrictions for vaccinated travelers. The U.S. Department of Transportation’s (DOT) new global vaccine and testing framework for international travel went into effect on Monday, Nov. 8. 

Under the new rules, fully vaccinated non-U.S. nationals who provide proof of full vaccination and a pre-departure negative coronavirus test result will be able to enter the U.S.

On Tuesday (Nov. 9), U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg also released the first details of the U.S. Aviation Climate Action Plan at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland, which for the first time sets out to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions from the U.S. aviation sector by 2050. 

Meanwhile, the nation’s hard-hit aviation industry still has not fully recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the DOT’s monthly Air Travel Consumer Report, COVID-19 disruptions continued to result in significant changes to airline schedules and operations since the global pandemic began in March 2020.

Through August 2021, the 592,760 flights operated by U.S. airlines were 84.1% of the 704,553 flights operated in pre-pandemic August 2019. Operated flights in August 2021, however, were up 50.4% year-over-year from the 394,143 flights operated in August 2020 and down 2.1% month-over-month from the 605,508 flights operated in July 2021.

According to the DOT’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS), U.S. scheduled passenger airlines reported a pretax operating loss of $46.5 billion in 2020, following 11 consecutive years of  profits. Through September, BTS reported that U.S. airlines employed 615,352 full-time and 103,459 part-time workers, an increase from August of 753 full-time workers and a decrease of 1,567 part-time workers. 

However, the U.S. airline industry is still operating with 34,571 fewer employees (4.6%) than at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. At the peak of the airline industry downturn in October 2020, U.S. airlines employed 673,278 workers, which was 81,749 fewer than in March 2020. 

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