The St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday approved extending contracts for six months, at lower retainer costs, with two consultants who work with MidAmerica Airport to obtain cargo service.
According to documents provided to commissioners, Chang’s contract is for $12,000 for six months, plus $1,000 a day for additional work, including trips and briefings for airport staff. The additional fees would be paid only if approved by MidAmerica and PBC officials.
Chang’s previous retainer was $10,000 a month.
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Chang’s role is to provide assistance with generating air freight between MidAmerica and international destinations, with a focus on Asia.
According to a letter from Aziotics president Larry Taylor, the firm will be paid $3,000 a month for the six-month contract, for a total of $18,000.
The previous retainer was $4,500 a month.
“We have restructured them down lower to specificity to enable us to be a little more maneuverable or selective,” said Tim Cantwell, MidAmerica Airport director.
Taylor recently delivered a market update on China to the PBC.
“What he’s doing is engaging those shippers in the nation, in the region, and educating them on our behalf for international work,” Cantwell said.
Aziotics has provided market information in Asia and Latin America and analysis of industries such as seafood, dairy, fruit, vegetables and flowers.
“Aziotics has to date provided MidAmerica with market knowledge, project management and customer relationships,” Taylor wrote.
Cantwell said getting cargo to go through MidAmerica is a long process, with the ultimate goal of building a route from Latin America to China.
“To build a trade route, takes a little bit more time but we’ve got other things building and other capabilities including a host tenant that needs cargo flowing,” Cantwell said.
Cantwell said Taylor works to find airlines, as well as people looking to ship products. Chang is working with operators and shippers.
“We’re to the point now where we know there is buyers and sellers on both sides,” Cantwell added. “Shippers will come; we just need an airline to say to the shippers, here’s the price for your cargo and it makes fiscal sense.
▪ Airfield shoulders rehabilitation: Commissioners approved rehabilitation of the shoulders on the airfield along runways, taxiways and connecting taxiways, among other areas.
Killian Corporation out of Mascoutah, was awarded the project for $268,800.
The total cost of the project is about $314,500, when including engineering costs. However, the county will only have to chip in $32,529, which is about 10 percent of the project.
The 12-foot-wide shoulders have not been touched since 1996, said Dan Trapp, airport engineer.
Work is set to include crack sealing, seal coating, miscellaneous repairs among other work, Trapp said.
▪ More people going through: Cantwell also gave an update on the number of passengers flying through MidAmerica.
Through Wednesday, more than 59,000 people, both inbound and outbound passengers, have gone through the airport this year
He expects MidAmerica to again qualify for a $1 million grant from the FAA, because of the passenger service.
Also the amount of fuel purchased has increased including a jump from about 92,000 gallons in February to about 148,500 gallons in March and almost 150,300 gallons in April. On Feb. 18, Allegiant started a new route to Punta Gorda/Fort Myers in Florida.
Halfway through June, almost 87,000 gallons of fuel have been purchased, according to airport documents.
The fuel purchase figures do include purchases from military aircraft who stop at the airport to re-fuel, Cantwell said.
▪ Airport HVAC maintenance: The commissioners approved a maintenance agreement for its heating ventilation and air conditioning systems at MidAmercia.
The contract was awarded to Integrated Facility Services out of Fenton for $13,284 a year for three years, with an options for an additional year. The other bid for the project came from Hayes Mechanical out of Belleville for $21,150 a year.
▪ Unmanned aircraft safety: The airport has received about five calls in the last two months from people asking if they could fly their unmanned aircraft, Cantwell said.
Federal Aviation Administration rules say because of safety reasons operators need permission from the airport and its control tower to operate within five miles of the airport, whether it’s for personal or professional use, Cantwell said.
Cantwell suggested people who fly unmanned aircraft, such as drones, should go to knowbeforeyoufly.org to learn rules of flying the devices.