I appreciated writer Chris Beykirch’s recent thoughtful letter concerning the operation of MidAmerica Airport. Many weren’t around when the airport became operational, but the county’s putting MAA’s care and feeding in the hands of commission political appointees that had never run an airport sounds shortsighted.
I’m not enough of an airport operations expert to know if this qualifies as a “real idea or solution” but I’ve been intrigued by the city of St. Louis’ recent efforts toward privatization of Lambert Airport. Other airports like Luís Muñoz Marín International Airport in Puerto Rico and Westchester Airport, a county-owned small air carrier airport similar to MAA in White Plains, New York, have also taken the privatization plunge.
St. Louis believes privatization would be good for the airport, the city, and the Metro region. They look to establish a public-private partnership that would use innovative ideas to improve airport-operating revenues. Ideas include maximizing additional parking revenue and increasing cargo revenue by utilizing additional land assets.
That’s music to St. Clair County taxpayers’ ears!
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The beauty of privatization is that the county would continue to own MAA while a private operator would pay to run the airport as a money-making venture. If the FAA approved a future MAA request to pursue privatization the real key would be finding a well-qualified airport operator wanting to take on the challenge.
That would be the real proof of the MAA pudding.
Bill Malec, O’Fallon