By Kevin Rozario (London, United Kingdom)
In FY2018 (ending June 30, 2018), St Louis Lambert International Airport (STL) broke the 15 million passenger barrier for the first time in more than a decade. The milestone came on the back of three years of month-on-month traffic growth supported by a combination of new destinations and routes; the use of larger aircraft; and increased flights frequencies to/from existing markets.
The gateway, which lies to the north west of the city of St Louis in Missouri – but close to the Illinois border, has also seen its ratings raised on outstanding revenue bonds, a sign that the ratings agencies see improved financial management and performance at the airport.
The news comes at an auspicious time. Last year the City of St Louis formalized a plan to explore STL’s privatization—a rare event in the US airports business. A committee (the Airport Advisory Working Group) and a team of consultants studied every aspect of the airport (debt, finances, operations, real estate and more) to determine whether the city should seek proposals from international airport operating firms under the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Investment Partnership Program.
The winning bidder would pay the city to lease and operate STL over a long timeframe as is common practise in other parts of the world.