Editorials

Allegiant flies high at MidAmerica as county leaders watch from cornfields

MidAmerica Airport offers flights to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport near Tampa and Punta Gorda Airport near Fort Myers, through its passenger airline, Allegiant Air.
MidAmerica Airport offers flights to St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport near Tampa and Punta Gorda Airport near Fort Myers, through its passenger airline, Allegiant Air. News-Democrat file

Passengers out of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport will have a whole lot more options for their summer travel plans.

Allegiant Air will increase their offerings by nearly 60 percent this coming April compared to this past April. Two flights a day with 300 available seats offer a big boost to passengers’ choices of schedules and destinations.

Allegiant runs itself as one expects a smart business to run. They expand when there is opportunity. They shrink when business is lean. They take advantage of government incentives such as free landing. They react when their flight safety is questioned.

So the fact that they are looking at such a significant boost at MidAmerica is a good reflection that they have seen the market equation is right for growth in our region. MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell should take a bow.

Still, there are others who should bow out of the airport business.

Appointees in charge of jail roofs and HVAC systems at the St. Clair County Building have little aviation expertise and no accountability to the taxpayers who propped up MidAmerica to the tune of $6.5 million last year and are in for $81 million since 2002. Members of the Public Building Commission answer only to county Chairman Mark Kern.

St. Clair County Board members should be making the airport’s financial decisions, although they took a $40 million debt on the airport, extended it for 30 years and ballooned it to $88 million. At least they have the potential to be voted out when they make poor decisions.

Just because Allegiant’s equation works at present for passengers, doesn’t mean the airport will ever add up for taxpayers.

  Comments