USDOT approves St. Louis Airport to explore privatization
The U.S. Department of Transportation has given preliminary approval to the city of St. Louis’ request to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. The airport’s preliminary application was approved under a 1996 law that allows the Federal Aviation Administration to approve up to 10 airport privatization projects. The city’s next steps include choosing a private operator for the St. Louis Airport privatization and negotiating an operations agreement. Any agreement must also be approved by the airlines and city boards.
The city of St. Louis had submitted a preliminary application to the FAA’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program. This could free up millions of additional dollars from the airport that would help the city invest in its public projects like a north-south MetroLink expansion. The city, which owns the airport, currently receives about $6 million from the facility per current law. Travis Brown of Grow Missouri Inc., the nonprofit that is partnering with the city on the project, said that this figure could increase by four to 10 times under a public-private partnership. St. Louis would be the second major U.S. airport to operate under private management, following San Juan, Puerto Rico.