San Jose to waive $3.2 million in fees for airlines reeling from the pandemic - The Mercury News

In an attempt to encourage airlines hobbled by the coronavirus pandemic to continue flying out of San Jose after struggling for years to land them in the first place, the city is waiving almost $3.2 million in fees.

The city’s decision to grant fee waivers comes as some U.S. lawmakers are pushing for a new round of federal bailouts for the aviation industry — on top of the $25 billion in federal payroll assistance handed out in mid-April.

“Given the unprecedented and enormous nature of the pandemic, we recognize a need to put some skin in the game,” said Scott Wintner, director of marketing & communications at Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport. “We want to demonstrate to our air carrier partners that we’re vested in their successful return to the San Jose airport.”

Seven airlines that provided intercontinental routes from the San Jose airport before the pandemic — Air Canada, Alaska Airlines, ANA Airways, British Airways, Southwest Airlines, Volaris Airlines and Hainan Airlines — will get both their landing fees and international arrival fees waived for a three- to six-month period upon their return to the airport.

The financial support ranges from about $24,000 for Southwest Airlines up to $688,000 for British Airways, for a total estimated at $3.2 million.

San Jose established a fee waiver program several years ago for certain airlines launching new routes from the airport, but this is the first time it’ll provide this kind of financial assistance for an airline and route already there.

City officials say they’re focusing on intercontinental routes because of the complexity and costs associated with government approvals, competitive pressure from San Francisco International Airport and the fact that some of the airlines have already begun actively soliciting other airports for cost reductions. And, as San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo noted, the city