Richard Hrabko, St. Louis Airport Commissioner and former director of St. Louis Lambert International (STL), passed away at his home Friday, April 14.
“He was so widely respected across the state and throughout aviation,” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, airport director and Hrabko’s successor. “He really brought a private-sector, business-oriented vision to the airport by shifting a focus to the airport’s ability to leverage non-aeronautical development to help the airport sustain better financial stability.”
Hrabko was chief executive of Spirit of St. Louis Airport from 1971 to 2007 before he was appointed director of STL. He served more than two years in that role and continued as a commissioner for the St. Louis Airport Commission through his recent battle with cancer.
After America Airlines drastically cut service at the airport in 2009, Hrabko helped renew service to key markets on other airlines. He also pushed through a $70 million renovation plan to modernize Terminal 1 and its concourses. The project was completed in 2014.
“This is a great loss for this region and the aviation community,” said St. Louis City Mayor Francis Slay. “Dick Hrabko truly set the foundation for this airport’s turnaround, helping weather the impact of American Airlines’ de-hubbing of its operations, pushing forward a major airport renovation plan and reorganizing the leadership structure of the airport.”
Hrabko is survived by his wife Cindy, three grown children, five grandchildren and one great grandchild. Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.