Tuesday, April 25, 2017
St. Louis gets federal approval to privatize airport
By Melanie Zanona
The Department of Transportation (DOT) has accepted St. Louis’s preliminary application to privatize its airport operations, the agency announced Monday.
St. Louis said in its application that airport privatization would help boost Lambert International Airport, which is a medium hub airport, as well as the region. The city hopes to maximize additional parking revenue and increase cargo revenue by using additional land assets.
The Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) airport privatization program enables airports to use private capital for infrastructure improvements by selecting a private operator, negotiating an agreement and submitting a final application to the FAA for approval.
“Today’s announcement to accept the St. Louis Lambert International Airport’s preliminary application to participate in FAA’s Airport Privatization Pilot Program demonstrates the administration’s commitment to leveraging innovative financing strategies to revitalize our nation’s aviation infrastructure,” said Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
“As we’ve already seen in San Juan, this approach to airport management increases productivity, revenue and operating efficiency for airports, creating greater access to capital for infrastructure needs.”
The announcement comes as the Trump administration seeks to leverage more money from the private sector to help upgrade U.S. roads, bridges and airports. President Trump’s proposed $1 trillion infrastructure package is expected to focus heavily on public-private partnerships.
Trump has also called for separating air traffic control from the federal government and handing it over to a nonprofit or nongovernmental agency.
“We congratulate DOT for this accomplishment, and look forward to continuing our work with them to modernize our nation’s infrastructure and ensure an airline system that works on behalf of all Americans,” said DJ Gribbin, special assistant to the president for infrastructure policy.