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p16 STL downtown airportBy RITA DUCKWORTH
    St. Louis Downtown Airport’s list of plans for 2017 included several new hangars. Construction is in progress at the general aviation airport located in Cahokia.
    “We have one new hangar going up and we’re expanding on another,” says Airport Director Erick Dahl. “The expansion will include a new apron and ramps for storage of one of our helicopter operators.”
    After those projects are complete, he explains, six or seven additional hangars are up next.
    As in 2016, the airport is at full capacity for tenants. The new hangars will accommodate increased demand. “We’re currently building on existing land, assessing areas that are best suited and easiest to develop into,” says Dahl. Once they fill those sites, future land purchases are not out of the question.
    The number of operations at the airport (calculated by the FAA as takeoffs and their corresponding landings) has held steady since last year at approximately 110,000. Charter flights, which include most of the local sports organizations continue to use the facility to travel to and from the St. Louis region. It also remains the chosen location for local news and traffic helicopters, as well as Fostaire Helicopter’s flight school.
    FBOs or Fixed Base Operators continue to thrive at the site. One of the largest, Ideal Aviation, surpassed its fuel sales record in September.
    The airport is aiding access for the FBOs and other tenants with a road reconstruction project. Curtiss Steinberg Drive, a primary nearby road, is being widened and revitalized. The changes will ease traffic for large freight delivery trucks and will improve the look of the main entryway.
    One item on the list for 2017 has been temporarily grounded. The airport received a federal grant of approximately $1.2 million for taxiway improvements scheduled to begin in April or May.
    “The budget is very strict, and the bids came in high,” explains Dahl. “We’ve rescoped the project and will be going out for bids again.” If all goes well, the project will break ground in 2018.
    Despite that setback, St. Louis Downtown Airport’s growth and expansion continues to be a leading force for the region’s economy.