MidAmerica may host military aircraft while SAFB's runway is closed

News-DemocratJune 19, 2014 

File photo of MidAmerica Airport.

ZIA NIZAMI — znizami@bnd.com

Military aircraft from Scott Air Force Base plan to use the runway at adjacent MidAmerica airport while the air force's runway is closed for about five months due to maintenance work.

The county-owned MidAmerica airport, located in Mascoutah, and Scott Air Force Base have a joint use agreement allowing aircraft to use the other's runway should a runway be closed. For example, military aircraft used MidAmerica's runway in 2011 while the runway at Scott Air Force Base was resurfaced.

The county's Public Building Commission, which oversees MidAmerica airport, approved the military's use of the runway at MidAmerica during a meeting Thursday. The Air Force has not yet signed the agreement, according to MidAmerica Director Tim Cantwell.

The Air Force's runway is anticipated to be closed from June 9 through September while drainage is improved near the runway, according to the agreement.

The Air Force will pay $20,000 per month to use MidAmerica's runway and provide emergency services, such as aircraft rescue and firefighting. In 2011, the Air Force paid $40,000 per month but did not provide emergency services.

In other news:

* The commission approved accepting a Lockheed C-141 aircraft from the federal U.S. General Services Administration to MidAmerica airport. The aircraft, a large cargo plane, will be modified to provide a mock-up for emergency responders assigned to MidAmerica and Scott Air Force Base.

* The commission OK'd a five-year lease with the Illinois State Police to host the police at a 3,500-square-foot hangar and office space at 8851 Monroe Flinn Drive in the airport. The annual rent for the property is $20,020 and the lease continues until 2019.

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

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