Business View Magazine - October 2018

112 113 ST. LOUIS DOWNTOWN AIRPORT have a viable airport close to downtown,” says Patti Beck, Director of Communications at Bi-State Development. “We want you to take on this project and that’s when we purchased it in 1964 and reopened it in 1965.When it reopened, it was initially called Bi-State Parks Airport. Then in 1999, it was renamed St. Louis Downtown Airport to re-brand it and to emphasize its three-mile proximity to down- town St. Louis.” Today, St. Louis Downtown Airport caters to business and general aviation, serving as a reliever airport for St. Louis Lambert Interna- tional Airport. “The federal government would consider us to be a reliever airport in the sense that we have traffic from Lambert come here every once in a while,” says Dahl. “We do see commercial operators on a charter basis; Delta, Paradigm, and a few other charter com- panies will operate large aircraft out of the airport, like 757s, Airbus 320s, and those types of aircraft.We see those almost every day.We are used by all of the downtown venues, such as concert venues, baseball teams, and hock- ey teams that fly in and out of the Airport as well.We’re not a commercial airport where you’d come to us to buy a ticket to go on vacation or on a business trip. But we do have quite a number of aircraft fly through the air- port on a daily basis for a variety of different operations.” The Airport began as a flight school and aviation education has continued to have a strong presence at St. Louis Downtown Air- port, expanding to include multiple flight schools for industries around the world. In fact, St. Louis University was granted Certificate No. 1 for providing flight training in the United States and the program continues to operate at the Airport, serving about 140 students from around the world, annually. Dahl points out that, for several key reasons, the Airport’s profile extends far beyond that of many regional airports. “We have one of the largest MROs (Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul) in the world,” he says. “Gulfstream Aerospace is here at the Airport on about 60 acres of land and it con- tinues to design and engineer, repair, or remodel aircraft for organizations around the world,” he explains. “In addition to Gulfstream,We have West Star Aviation at the airport providing similar MRO activities on a wide range of aircraft to users all over the world.” “In addition to those large MROs, which are known almost worldwide for their brands, we have a number of different, special aviation service organizations,” says Dahl. “Helicopters Inc. does a lot of helicopter management around the country. Jet Aviation, which has a worldwide pres- ence as well, is one of our Fixed Base Operators at the Airport, as is Ideal Aviation, which mainly deals with our smaller aircraft. But it’s also one of the world-class FBOs in the field.” St. Louis Downtown Airport has 15 full-time employees working in maintenance, fire fighting, and as office staff, as well as a safety manage- ment specialist and an office manager. That total doesn’t reflect the multitude of jobs created directly and indirectly by the Airport, notes Dahl. Both he and Beck take pride in relating that a