MidAmerica St. Louis Airport may set record again this year
By RANDY PIERCE
Following a record year for passenger traffic in 2022, MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is on its way, if all goes as expected, to topping that total by the end of the current 12-month calendar period.
This information was shared by Bryan Johnson, director of the airport, known by the abbreviation “BLV” in the aviation trade because of its proximity to Belleville, with the members of the St. Clair County Public Building Commission at its most recent meeting.
In explaining the projected usage of the airport in 2023, Johnson stated the year has started with 8327 enplanements, the total number of passengers boarding or disembarking from flights at BLV, this January, topping the first month of 2022 during which that figure was 7456.
Based on what passengers Allegiant, the passenger airline carrier operating at BLV, has scheduled through just past mid-year, there are similar monthly increases in enplanements expected for February, April, June and July.
Then those numbers, coupled with figures from the Federal Aviation Administration, using what it calls a terminal area forecast, for the remainder of 2023, show a grand total for the current year projected at 175,397, subject to fluctuation, of course, dependent on the actual numbers.
That 175,000-plus exceeds the new annual record of 163,210 set in 2022 which was more than the prior year’s total of 159,677, all of these well over the amount recorded in the pandemic crisis year of 2020 when there were 108,000 enplanements.
“MidAmerica Airport’s continuing growth is due to numerous factors,” St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said. “Passengers can count on easy access from Interstate 64, affordable parking and efficient airport and security operations and they appreciate Allegiant’s strong route network serving popular destinations at affordable rates.”
Those destinations include Charleston and Myrtle Beach in South Carolina, Las Vegas, Nevada, Phoenix/Mesa, Arizona, Savannah, Georgia and the following, all in Florida: Destin/Fort Walton Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, Jacksonville, Orlando, Sarasota/Bradenton and Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg.
Currently underway and the subject of monthly updates from Johnson for the St. Clair County PBC, an appointed volunteer body overseeing airport operations, is an expansion project involving BLV’s terminal which will include a new and improved security screening area, two additional passenger boarding bridges and additional customer amenities.
“We are excited about the sustained growth at MidAmerica Airport,” Johnson said. “Especially at a time when travel demand is on the rise and the public is exploring more leisure destinations.”
Further enhancing the airport for passengers who use it in the not-too-distant future will be an expansion of the MetroLink light rail transportation line which currently stops at nearby Scott Air Force Base but will reach BLV eventually with construction expected to begin soon.