Spirit of St. Louis Airport

the jets when maintenance is being done on the main runway. Another advantageous Spirit attribute is its role as a wholesaler of fuel. “Fuel does not just flow through the Spirit of St. Louis Airport,” says Bales, “we buy it. All the FBOs purchase it from us. It ensures that everyone that flies in here is going to get the same quality of fuel. The current contract is with Phillips 66 and they provide us incredible training, service, and supply. At one time, we were one of the biggest aviation fuel providers in the country and that’s one of our revenue sources. So that’s very important.” The airport’s annual air show focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. “Because our industry needs more pilots and technicians and engineers,” Bales explains. “Every Friday before the show, we invite about 100 school kids and they get to explore our STEM Expo. I can take a group of schoolkids down to a corporate hangar where they’re able to interact and talk with the corporate flight team about why business aviation is so important to the economy and what a great opportunity it is for a career.” Spirit of St. Louis Airport is 55 years old and in that time has only had two Airport Directors. The first, Richard Hrabko, stayed 43 years; and Bales started in 1994 as Deputy and became the Director in 2007. “Having that consistency and vision is so valuable,” says Bales. “With 3000 employees and international traffic, the tenants work together almost like a family. We consider ourselves the Business Aviation Center of the Midwest and that’s the traffic we go after. Each year we increase our land development and jobs and economic impact, and that’s something we’re out working on every day. Overall, while there is competition among tenants, everyone tries to support each other. Spirit is a very business friendly airport; we work closely with our tenants. We consider ourselves a partner, not a landlord.”