FLY 314 | St. Louis Public Radio

FLY 314

File photo | 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.

(Sept. 11, 2019) City officials Paul Payne (at left) and Linda Martinez joined Wednesday's talk show to discuss the state of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport privatization process.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For two and a half years, the city of St. Louis has been exploring the idea of leasing St. Louis Lambert International Airport. An army of consultants has been toiling — largely behind closed doors — to put together a request for qualifications. They hope to attract a private company willing to pay big money up front in hopes of profiting off future airport operations. While other cities have flirted with the idea, the leasing of a major U.S. airport is unprecedented. 

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, two high-ranking city officials joined the program to discuss the state of the privatization conversation: Paul Payne, the city budget director and chairman of the airport working group, and Linda Martinez, deputy mayor for development.

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.

Taken at SEIU Local 1 union on 06/25
Corinne Ruff | St. Louis Public Radio

Keyahnna Jackson has a lot of questions about the potential lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport to a private company.

“Will I still have a job? Are they bringing new people in? Would our rate of pay change? What’s going to be the difference?” she asked. 

Flight board lambert airport
File photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Several members of the city’s Transportation and Commerce Committee say they feel they have been kept in the dark when it comes to details on the Airport Working Group’s progress.

Two members of the group attended the Transportation and Commerce Committee meeting in City Hall today to deliver an update on the work completed so far by the large cadre of consultants who launched the airport privatization exploration process in August 2018.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport privatization is subject of city wide survey
Melody Walker|St. Louis Public Radio

In the midst of this political season, there’s another campaign underway in St. Louis. But it’s not on the ballot for the midterm election.

It’s the communication and outreach effort sponsored by FLY 314, the group charged with exploring the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Grow Missouri, Inc., the organization funded by billionaire Rex Sinquefield, funds FLY 314 and is paying for project advisors’ expenses. Grow Missouri will be reimbursed by the city if and when a deal is done.

After many delays, the city's contract with consultants to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport may be official soon.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

A group working with FLY 314, the non-profit overseeing the possible lease of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, plans to knock on 100,000 doors to survey city residents about the airport.

The goal is to get 20,000 residents, representing all of the city’s wards, to answer a 23-question survey. The questions have not been made public, but there is an interactive map indicating where canvassers have been and how many doors they have knocked on in each ward.