Airport Advisory Working Group | St. Louis Public Radio

Airport Advisory Working Group

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 6 with more information about the bidders — 

The Airport Advisory Working Group on Wednesday released additional information about each of the 18 companies and groups interested in bidding on a potential long-term lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

(Scroll below to see a detailed list of the companies.)

Former Missouri Supreme Court Judge Ray Price and Michelle Schwerin, an attorney at Capes Sokol, were nominated to the Board of Police Commissioners Friday. Nov. 4, 2019
File photo|Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council on Tuesday approved two new members of the Board of Police Commissioners — a move activists said doesn’t do enough to improve a culture that fails to punish officer misconduct.

The council also approved funding for outside attorneys to help with a legal response to a nearly $20 million verdict against the county for discrimination. And members called on the city of St. Louis to be more transparent in conversations about privatizing St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 13 to reflect the film is no longer being distributed. 

First Rule Films pulled its documentary “Hard Landing at Lambert” from all streaming platforms Tuesday at the request of the Airport Advisory Working Group. 

Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

About 20 residents gathered at an event Tuesday evening to ask questions regarding the city’s exploration of whether to lease St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Consultants and members of the Airport Advisory Working Group, including Deputy Mayor for Development Linda Martinez, gave a presentation at Carpenter Library in south St. Louis about the process so far. 

The group also explained the potential benefit of a private deal — saying a cash influx could help pay down the airport’s debt and help alleviate problems like blight and crime in the city.

Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Oct. 28 with an update from First Rule

A representative from First Rule on Monday noted the media company has postponed a private screening of a new documentary about St. Louis Lambert International Airport. She did not provide a reason for the delayed event or a rescheduled date.

Original story from Oct. 25:

There’s a new documentary about St. Louis Lambert International Airport — and members of the working group considering whether to lease the airport aren’t happy about it.

The company that produced the documentary, First Rule, this week emailed invitations for a private viewing of the film, as well as a presentation about the airport privatization process so far. First Rule is a subsidiary of media advocacy organization Pelopidas, founded by Travis Brown, who also leads Grow Missouri.

Grow Missouri is one of several consultants for FLY314, the group hired by the city of St. Louis to consider whether to privatize the airport.

Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Nov. 4 with letter and complete list of signatures.

Mayors of municipalities surrounding St. Louis Lambert International Airport sent a letter Monday to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson asking for a briefing about airport privatization. The letter is signed by the mayors of the following cities: Woodson Terrace, Berkeley, Hazelwood, Edmundson, St. Ann, Overland, St. John, Bridgeton and Breckenridge Hills.

(Scroll down to read the letter.)

Original story from Oct. 23:

On a cool October morning, Woodson Terrace Mayor Lawrence Besmer stands on a construction site eyeing the progress of a new hotel going up off Interstate 70, across from St. Louis Lambert International Airport. 

But Besmer worries that the success of this hotel and another planned for his city of 4,000 residents hinges on what ultimately happens across the street — where officials are discussing whether to lease the airport to a private operator.

“It would just be nice to know what’s going on,” he said. “We can’t plan without knowing what they’re doing. So, it’s hard.”

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4 p.m. with details within the Request For Qualifications.

The St. Louis Airport Advisory Working Group voted Friday to put out an official call for companies interested in a potential long-term lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

With little public discussion, the group voted 3-1 to release a request for qualifications. That asks for interested parties to detail their performance history and financial ability to operate the airport. 

The head of the working group, Paul Payne, said this is the first benchmark indicating the city is moving forward with the process of considering leasing the airport.

Taken at Denver International Airport on 9.17.19
Corinne Ruff / St. Louis Public Radio

DENVER — For Paula Gallegos, who flies out of Denver International Airport weekly on business trips, a 15-minute detour through construction is understandable for a few months. But a few years?

“Two or three years with this is a little much,” she said, pointing to the white paneling guarding exposed concrete and iron beams. “But, I mean, what do you do?”

She’s one of many Denver residents frustrated that a construction project halted last month is blocking a third of the airport’s main terminal. That’s after Denver’s mayor pulled the plug on the nearly $2 billion construction and privatization deal with Great Hall Partners, a group led by Spanish company Ferrovial Airports.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A new plan for civil service employees at St. Louis Lambert International Airport aims to alleviate fears about what will happen to jobs if the city leases the airport to a private operator.

The preliminary program, developed by the St. Louis Airport Advisory Working Group, lays out three options for the 550 city employees at the airport: They could stay on with a five-year job guarantee under the private operator, apply with preference for another city job or stay in their current position during a two-year transition period.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis alderwoman is questioning why the city has pivoted away from a public vote on the potential privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, has been pushing for a public vote for more than a year through her proposed legislation in the Board of Aldermen. So she was surprised to see a public vote had been suggested when the process first got off the ground.

Upon a closer look at the preliminary application submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration in 2017, Spencer said she recently realized a process involving a public vote was outlined as the preferred method for granting the city the authority to lease the airport. 

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Denver International Airport last month pulled the plug on a nearly $2 billion deal with a Spanish company leading a public-private partnership.

That’s of interest in St. Louis, where the company — Ferrovial Airports — may bid to lease St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Some city officials are taking a wait-and-see approach, while others hear alarm bells.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen will spend at least part of Friday debating whether to ask voters to repeal the requirement that most city employees live in the city.

The bill narrowly received first-round approval in July. Its sponsor, Alderwoman Carol Howard, D-14th Ward, delayed a final vote until after the break, to give her time to secure more support.

Taken at Bishop Du Bourg High School on 06/27/19
File photo | Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 1 p.m., Sept. 11, with confirmation from the St. Louis Airport Advisory Working Group

Douglass Petty, the communications manager of the St. Louis Airport Advisory Working Group, has been fired, the head of the group confirmed Wednesday. 

Paul Payne, who is also the St. Louis budget director, said Petty is no longer a spokesman for the group, nor is he employed by the St. Louis Development Corporation. Beyond that, Payne said the issue is a personnel matter.

Taken at Bishop Du Bourg High School on 06/27/19
File photo | Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Late last month, a person who identified himself as Dominique called St. Louis on the Air to weigh in on a discussion about airport privatization.

“I think that right now it might be premature one way or the other to try to draw some conclusions simply because it’s a process that’s not been concluded,” Dominique said on the air. “There is no decision at this point.”

Even as Dominique spoke, questions arose about whether the caller was really Douglass Petty, the communications manager for the St. Louis airport advisory working group. While St. Louis Public Radio so far has been unable to obtain its call log from AT&T, the radio station did have a forensic audio analysis performed that shows Dominique was “very likely” Petty.