MidAmerica needs money: How much to repair airport's rusty jetways?

News-DemocratMay 15, 2014 

File photo of MidAmerica Airport.

ZIA NIZAMI — znizami@bnd.com

St. Clair County leaders want to repair rusty bridgeways that lead passengers to airplanes at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

Members of the Public Building Commission on Thursday unanimously approved seeking bids to repair two passenger loading bridges at the airport. The commission oversees county-owned buildings and the airport in Mascoutah.

The bridges, known as jetways, allow passengers to board and leave aircraft without going outside. The cost to repair and paint the jetways is estimated to range from $40,000 to $65,000.

The project was first considered in 2009 when county officials noticed rust accumulating on the jetways. A lack of funds caused the project to be deferred. Now rust has accelerated on one of the jetways and a portion of the metal panels may need to be replaced, according to county officials.

The commission also approved setting the rates for services provided by MidAmerica.

MidAmerica Director Tim Cantwell said the rates have stayed the same since 2008, including the cost for companies to rent office space. The cost to rent office space in the passenger terminal building is $19 per square foot per year. To rent ticket counter space, the annual cost is $23 per square foot.

"They are in line with normal airports of our size and our traffic, and our availabilities," Cantwell said, adding the airport does not have any more office space to lease in the passenger terminal.

The only increase in fees approved by the commission was the addition of a $2.50 fee to rent vehicles at the airport.

"This establishes a $2.50 fee for rental cars out of the terminal," Cantwell said. "Normal fees for larger airports can go up to 20 percent of gross bills."

The fee is recovered by the rental company and remitted to MidAmerica.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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