2 min read
Posted on 03.29.17
  • 2 min read
  • Posted on 03.29.17

This week, the city submitted a pre-application to the Federal Aviation Commission's (FAA) Airport Privatization Pilot Program (APPP). As the FAA explains, the APPP is designed to allow select U.S. airports to generate access to sources of private capital for airport improvement and development. The results aim to improve operational efficiencies, allow for innovation, and free up airport revenue for other municipal purposes, without changing the ownership of the airport.

If the FAA accepts our pre-application, we will have an opportunity to explore whether this is the right option for St. Louis. We will begin examining how this program might benefit the airport, our City, and our region.

It makes good sense to explore the idea. We owe it to taxpayers and the airport's users to reap the maximum benefits of owning an airport, and we believe this pilot program might be a way to do that. The application process will cost about a million dollars. Grow Missouri, Inc, not taxpayers, will cover those costs.

Besides ending up with a better airport, we’ll see if the program can generate upfront payments, payments over time, or both, that can be used for non-airport City purposes, including North South Metrolink and fully staffing our police department. As this April’s ballot suggests, we’re near the end of other ways to invest in our infrastructure and operations.

To make this clear from the beginning (The pre-beginning, I suppose, since it's a "pre-application"):  the airport cannot be sold, and this effort is not trying to sell it. We have started the process to see if leasing airport management is the right decision. Before we sign on the dotted line of that decision, though, it would, at least, need approval from the Board of Aldermen and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. We are not there yet.