Metro-East News

St. Clair County commission OKs $20,000 bonus for airport director

MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell listens during a press conference about the new flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday approved a $20,458 bonus for Cantwell for meeting passenger goals and for adding new tenants at the airport in 2015.
MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell listens during a press conference about the new flights to Destin-Fort Walton Beach, Fla. The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday approved a $20,458 bonus for Cantwell for meeting passenger goals and for adding new tenants at the airport in 2015. tvizer@bnd.com

MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell will receive a bonus of more than $20,000.

The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday approved a $20,458 bonus for Cantwell for meeting passenger goals and for adding new tenants at the airport in 2015.

His estimated 2015 base salary was $124,207, according to the St. Clair County compensation report.

Last year, the airport had 31,458 passengers take flights out of the airport. Allegiant Air, the airport’s only airline, added Las Vegas as a new destination in 2015.

This year, Allegiant has plans to add service from MidAmerica to Fort Myers/Punta Gorda and Destin/Fort Walton Beach in Florida.

Cantwell also negotiated a new lease for two billboards along Interstate 64, which is expected to bring in $125,000 over five years to the airport.

Cantwell also negotiated a lease with a new terminal concessionaire, Roy-el on the Fly.

“(Cantwell) has done a good job on making things happen,” said PBC Chairman Richard Sauget.

In 2015, however, the airport ran a roughly $900,000 operating deficit, with $3.2 million in day-to-day expenses for the year. Sauget said MidAmerica is working to improve the figures, citing fuel sales among other things.

“(With) the amount the activity that’s going on, hopefully it’s going to make that a lesser amount next year,” Sauget said.

County Board Member Fred Boch questioned whether some of Cantwell’s performance goals should be re-evaluated.

“Since we’re increasing the passenger base, maybe the performance criteria, the bar can be raised,” Boch said.

“When you have measurable goals you’re working toward, you’re more likely to accomplish them rather than using a 10-year-old criteria,” Boch added. “You should increase 10 years later. If you weren’t we really would be disappointed.”

Commissioner Jim Nations said increasing goals would be something that would need to be evaluated along with the people it affects.

More Allegiant flights

Allegiant has added an additional flight day for its MidAmerica-to-Destin/Fort Walton Beach route.

Last week, when airline officials announced the route, it intially had planned twice-weekly service. Because ticket sales have gone well, Allegiant has added a third day.

“Just in seven days, they’ve seen the pressures to increase frequency to three times a week,” Cantwell said. “We’re anticipating if these sales go well ... we’ll go four days a week.”

Flights to Destin are scheduled on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from June through August, but Nations said flights are expected to be scheduled in the future .

“It is their intention to continue to service on an extended period,” Nations said. “They review their flights, they review their bookings. It’s incumbent upon the people to use the service if we’re going to have the ability to continue to grow it.”

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