The number of annual passenger flights at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport more than doubled compared to the previous year, according to a report released Thursday at the St. Clair County Public Building Commission meeting.
MidAmerica had 986 flights in the fiscal year that ended in September, up 148 percent from the 397 flights in the previous year. In 2014, there were 291 flights at MidAmerica, according to the report prepared by the Sixel Consulting Group, of Eugene, Ore.
Most of the MidAmerica flights were to Allegiant destinations in Florida, including Sanford, near Orlando; St. Petersburg/Clearwater; and Punta Gorda, near Fort Myers. Allegiant also flies to Las Vegas.
To accommodate an expected increase in flights between March and August, the commission unanimously voted to buy a used portable boarding bridge from Allegiant for $45,000. Allegiant no longer needs the boarding bridge in Burlington, Vt., and the county plans to hire a trucking company to haul the boarding bridge to MidAmerica.
Airport Director Tim Cantwell told commission members the boarding bridge is needed because he expects to have three passenger planes on the ground at the same time between March and August. The terminal only has two boarding ramps.
The portable boarding bridge can be moved to a plane on the tarmac and its ramps allow passengers in wheelchairs to get on and off the plane.
A new portable boarding bridge costs about $65,000.
Also on Thursday, the commission voted to keep its agreement with St. Louis-based Airport Terminal Services, which provides ground services for planes at MidAmerica.
Cantwell said Airport Terminal Services has provided services at MidAmerica for more than 10 years. The new agreement includes a lower base cost for fueling services, dropping 23 percent from $166,000 annually to $128,000. Cantwell said this cost is covered by the price MidAmerica charges for fuel.