The City of St. Louis has submitted a preliminary application to the Federal Aviation Administration requesting a slot be reserved for Lambert-St. Louis International (STL) in its Airport Privatization Pilot Program.
The APPP will allow selected airports to generate access to private capital for airport improvement and development. The hope is that this will improve operational efficiencies, open up airports to private sector innovation and free up airport revenue for other purposes, while still maintaining total ownership of the airport.
“If the FAA accepts our pre-application, we will have an opportunity to explore whether this is the right option for St. Louis,” said Mayor Francis Slay. “We will begin examining how this pilot program might benefit the airport, our city and our region. We owe it to taxpayers and the airport’s users to reap the maximum benefits of the airport, and we believe this pilot program has the potential to do just that by improving airport revenue through private partner innovation, diversification and improved use of land assets.”
Commercial service airports, like STL, cannot be sold, just leased. In the APPP program the city would still fully own the airport and its land, but day-to-day operations would be transferred to a private sector operator leasing the facility.
If STL gets approval of this application, the next year would be spent assessing the region’s options. The final move to privatization would require approval from the FAA, the airlines operating at STL and other local approvals.