Boeing may soon expand its operations and bring more jobs to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah, according to Airport Director Tim Cantwell.
The Boeing Corp., an international aerospace and defense corporation based in Chicago, expects to expand its operations as the company successfully bids on work in the coming months, Cantwell told the St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday. And the company has set its sights on MidAmerica because of the airport's relatively cheap operating costs, Cantwell said.
No specifics were given in terms of jobs or timetable. Boeing representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
Boeing is currently examining the cost of expanding and has been absorbing more work and machinery into the airport building in the past year. The potential expansion would be done incrementally as opposed to a large, single project.
Cantwell said he could not discuss the possible expansion in detail due to nondisclosure agreements, but noted the company's 80 employees "filled out" Boeing's current building. The company began operating a subassembly plant for military aircraft at the airport about two years ago.
County leaders met with Boeing on Monday to discuss the company's future at the airport, according to Cantwell.
Another company based at the airport has seen growth as well. North Bay Produce Inc. of Traverse City, Mich., has grown from six employees to 11 employees since beginning operations in June, Cantwell said.
The company distributes fresh produce from a 36,000-square-foot, refrigerated warehouse at the airport. North Bay representatives could not immediately be reached for comment.
The county also continues fishing for customers in its effort to establish MidAmerica as a trade hub with China.
At the top of the airport's list is importers and exporters of seafood, such as oysters, clams, lobsters and caviar, according to county consultant Larry Taylor.
Those products and others could eventually be shipped to MidAmerica's Chinese partner -- Ningbo Lishe International Airport.
The Chinese airport currently is undergoing the construction of a large refrigerated warehouse as part of a $1.3 billion improvement program.