MidAmerica Airport (BLV)

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TransMeridian confirms MidAmerica flights through Sept. 6

St. Louis Business Journal


TransMeridian Airlines plans to continue its charter service from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport at least through Sept. 6.

The Lithia Springs, Ga.-based TransMeridian had committed to six months at the airport when it began operations in November. Friday, a spokesman said the carrier's summer schedule includes three flights weekly from MidAmerica in Mascoutah, Ill., to Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla. The summer schedule runs through Sept. 6.

It is the only passenger airline operating from the $308 million Mid-America, after PanAm and Great Plains Airlines ended service.

I hear it's actually doing pretty well, but I never wanted to be too optimistic. I never posted articles and such for that reason.

Yeah, after the Pan Am and Great Plains debacles at MidAmerica, you do want to be hesitant, but I'm naturally optimistic - probably to a fault sometimes - but sh*t happens and life goes on.

I'd rather be optimistic (or somewhere in between) than pessimistic anytime.

Airline extends flights scheduled at MidAmerica

By Elisa Crouch

Of the Post-Dispatch


For the first time, MidAmerica Airport will keep an airline longer than its initial agreement with the carrier, fueling hopes that it is moving away from the empty gates and multimillion-dollar operating deficits that have plagued it since it opened in 1998.

TransMeridian Airlines is about to launch its summer flight schedule from MidAmerica and is working on a fall lineup, says Colin Wheeler, the airline's vice president of marketing and scheduling. If the airline follows through, it would give the airport its first 12 months of consistent - although limited - passenger service since Pan American Airways dropped the airport in late 2001.

On Friday, passengers crowded around the luggage carousel after their flight from Orlando, Fla. Tim Cantwell, airport director, mingled with passengers and asked them what they thought of the airport. He told some that he's working to add flights and destinations.

"That would be convenient," said Pam Kromidas, 49, of Edwardsville, as Cantwell worked the other side of the terminal.

Depending on the week, TransMeridian operates only two or three flights from MidAmerica, which is next to Scott Air Force Base. Those flights go to only one destination: Orlando Sanford Airport, about 18 miles northeast of Orlando.

"Success always builds success," Cantwell said. "When I talk to carriers who provide service in our top five markets . . . I can point to TransMeridian."

This glimpse at stability offers MidAmerica and area officials hope that the airport is on the road toward more regular passenger use. Last spring, the airport began turning its lights out at night to cut costs. Since the airport opened eight years ago, St. Clair County has covered its annual operating deficit, which generally runs $2 million to $2.5 million.

Some officials believe the key to MidAmerica's success lies in cargo. A 50,000-square-foot cargo facility is being built near the terminal, and Cantwell is working to get international flights there.

But passenger traffic remains a vital piece of the airport's potential success. The county, which owns the $213 million airport in Mascoutah, agreed to a $310,000 marketing campaign with TransMeridian to share in the airline's risk of flying out of MidAmerica. Included in that is $45,000 to pay Cardinals announcer Mike Shannon to serve as the spokesman for the airport and TransMeridian in radio spots.

"In an unproven market, you've got to have incentives," Cantwell said.

In August 2000, Pan Am became the first airline to use MidAmerica but dropped the airport and others from its schedule in December 2001. Great Plains Airlines, based in Tulsa, Okla., began flying to Chicago and Washington from MidAmerica in October 2003 but grounded its fleet last January. It later filed for bankruptcy protection.

TransMeridian flights have been about 81 percent full, Wheeler said.

"We're fairly happy with where we are at this point in time," he said.

Based in Atlanta, the airline operates as a charter airline and low-cost carrier, advertising $77 flights on billboards in the Metro East area.

"We're having to do a lot of discounting," Wheeler said. "You do what it takes to fill the airplane."

James Molinarolo, 34, who owns several small bars in Southern Illinois, said the price was the reason he could afford a business trip to Florida.

"I don't know how long those prices will last, but at this price, I could commute," he said.

Passengers said on Friday they chose the airport out of convenience, shorter lines at security, free parking and cheap ticket prices.

"It served our purpose," said Pat Oberholtzer, 71, of Belleville, who was returning from her granddaughter's soccer tournament in Florida.

Traffic has become stable enough that International Restaurant Management Corp. plans to open the airport's first deli counter this spring, offering a dining option beyond the airport's only soda vending machine.

The company wanted to watch passenger traffic for a few months before making the investment. "We're kind of betting that things will get better," said Peter Wenzell, president of International Restaurant Management.

Dan Maher, St. Clair County administrator, said he was betting the same. He plans to hop a flight on TransMeridian this winter.

"I hope it's crowded," he said.

Reporter Elisa Crouch

E-mail: ecrouch@post-dispatch.com

Phone: 314-340-8119
Airline extends service to San Juan

MidAmerica flights go through Orlando





Passengers flying out of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport will soon be able to fly on to Puerto Rico without changing planes, a TransMeridian Airlines spokesman said Thursday.

The Lithia Springs, Ga.,-based airline next week plans to start selling tickets to San Juan Airport starting at $199. The flights will start May 26 and include an hour-long layover at the airline's hub at Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla.

"Anytime we have flights that continue on from one place to another, we try to connect them," said Colin Wheeler, TransMeridian's assistant vice president for scheduling and planning. "It was just sort of a byproduct of serving the two destinations."

San Juan-bound flights will depart MidAmerica at 1:35 p.m. CDT on Wednesdays and Sundays and arrive at 8:55 p.m. EDT. Return flights will leave San Juan at 7:15 a.m. EDT on Fridays and arrive at 12:35 p.m. at the Mascoutah airport.

"It's a pretty big deal," Airport Director Tim Cantwell said. "This is a destination people will want...."

The airline on Thursday also announced it will offer first-class seating on all flights from MidAmerica, including the flight carrying passengers on to San Juan. A first-class trip to Orlando will add $50 each way to the cost of a ticket. It will be $100 to fly first-class to San Juan.

TransMeridian Airlines opened service here Nov. 21 with an agreement to fly at least six months out of MidAmerica. The original agreement will expire in May, although the airline has already signed on until at least September because of its popularity here.

The airline managed to fill about 80 percent of the plane every time it flew out of MidAmerica since November, Cantwell said. The success means St. Clair County won't be on the hook for more than the $310,000 it promised in marketing incentives to lure the airline here last fall.

Patrick J. Powers can be contacted at ppowers@bnd.com or 239-2562.[/url]

What? San Juan starting at $199?!! I had to read that twice.

I flew from St. Louis to San Juan via Miami on TWA a few years ago and it cost me about $350 bucks. Wow. This is cool even if you have to plan your vacation around their departure dates.

Puerto Rico is a cool place.

80% full planes? Wow. I'm timidly ecstatic. :)

Thanks for posting.
Xing wrote:
The airline on Thursday also announced it will offer first-class seating on all flights from MidAmerica, including the flight carrying passengers on to San Juan. A first-class trip to Orlando will add $50 each way to the cost of a ticket. It will be $100 to fly first-class to San Juan.

I read this to mean $50 for first class to Orlando in addition to the regular fare?
TransMeridian Airlines adds San Juan flights


TransMeridian Airlines has announced direct service to San Juan, PR from Mid America Airport St. Louis, Missouri beginning June 20, 2005.

TransMeridian Airlines currently offers two round-trip flights per week from St. Louis Mid America to Orlando Sanford, and will increase to three flights per week starting March 7, 2005. During the summer it will increase the flight?s frequency to six times per week.

Direct flights now? I thought it was from MidAmerica to Orlando, to San Juan.

This is according to their press release that I received via their website email list on Thursday - March 3. I will call and find out.

They stop in Orlando then on to San Juan. Its only $89 from here to San Juan.
Allegiant will take flight at Mid-America


Allegiant Air LLC, a low-fare carrier catering to vacation travelers, will soon offer service from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport to the airline's Las Vegas home, pending approval expected today from St. Clair County leaders.

"It's a win-win situation for our passengers and the airline," MidAmerica Airport Director Tim Cantwell said.

Allegiant Air plans to start service from the St. Clair County-owned airport on April 29. The airline initially would offer two flights a week on Monday and Friday evenings to McCarran International Airport, Cantwell said. Regular prices for a one-way ticket would range from $94 to $199.

A one-way introductory fare would be offered April 8 for $49. The introductory fare would be valid for travel through June 16, but doesn't cover the flight returning to MidAmerica.

The airline -- which currently operates occasional charter flights for Harrah's from Mid America to a casino and hotel in Laughlin, Nev. -- on Monday wouldn't confirm or deny its intentions to establish regular service to MidAmerica.

"I can't confirm service (to MidAmerica Airport), but I can confirm that I'll be at a press conference there on Tuesday," Allegiant Air spokesman Tyri Squyres said.

St. Clair County, in exchange for one year of scheduled air service, will waive landing fees for a year and offer Allegiant Air $220,000 in marketing incentives, Cantwell said. However, the airport won't be responsible if the airline loses money and doesn't plan to offer revenue guarantees.

The St. Clair County Public Building Commission today will meet during a special meeting to discuss the details of the deal. The commission scheduled a news conference for 3 p.m. at the airport where it's expected to formally announcement Allegiant Air's arrival.

The airline already has added three cities this year to its list of destinations served, Squyres said. Allegiant Air currently serves 16 cities nationwide and caters to Las Vegas-bound travelers. "We are sort of a niche airline," she said. "We are selling the destination just as much as the airline."

Local leaders welcomed the news of Allegiant Air's pending arrival.

"I think this is another good step," O'Fallon Mayor Gary Graham said. "The airport's got to get going."

MidAmerica St. Louis Airport's already seen two scheduled passenger carriers, Pan Am Airlines and Great Plains Airlines, come and go. Pan Am couldn't survive a downturn in the industry after Sept. 11 and Great Plains declared bankruptcy after three months of service.

Currently, Lithia Springs, Ga.-based TransMeridian Airlines is the only airline ferrying passengers in and out of Mid America. The charter airline offers flights to Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla., with continuing service to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

TransMeridian's recent success at MidAmerica is part of what sold Allegiant Air on coming to Illinois, according to airline industry analyst Kelly Slusarski. Slusarski works for Mead & Hunt, a Eugene, Ore., based consulting firm that provided potential passenger data for St. Clair County's airport.

"TransMeridian went ahead and took the risk," Slusarski said. "They appear to be on the way to making a profit and that's what appealed to Allegiant Air."

What's appealing to Mid America Airport is the additional funding that could be headed its way with Allegiant Air's arrival. A new scheduled air carrier would allow the airport to apply for $1 million in additional federal funding and to request a $2 to $3 service charge on tickets.

Allegiant Air plans to utilize a 150-seat MD-80 jet aircraft for service to Las Vegas.

It's the same airplane Allegiant Air currently uses when it operates Harrah's charter flights from to Laughlin, Nev. Harrah's charter flight from MidAmerica runs about six times a year, Cantwell said.

Contact reporter Patrick J. Powers at ppowers@bnd.com or 239-2562.


What's next Sun Country? They go to Jamaica, Cozumel, and St. Thomas USVI. :D

I know this is a stretch, but is MidAmerica finding its niche? Could it become the leisure/vacation airport of St. Louis? Is this possible?

Nonetheless, I still want MidAmerica to get international cargo status. With all of the distribution centers either under construction or proposed in the Metro East, MidAmerica and the St. Louis area could become serious logistics player if international cargo lands at the airport.

From Allegiant Air...................


Mascoutah, Ill. March 8, 2005 ? What happens in Vegas may stay in Vegas, but it will soon start in Southern Illinois as Allegiant Air, LLC, and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport today announced new nonstop jet service to Las Vegas. The Las Vegas-based, low-fare airline will inaugurate scheduled service to the excitement of Las Vegas April 29, 2005. To kick off the new service, Allegiant is offering introductory fares as low as $49* one-way on flights from MidAmerica to McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas,) when booked through the company?s website www.allegiantair.com.

?We are extremely pleased to extend the Allegiant brand of low-fare, nonstop jet service to the people of St. Louis and Southern Illinois,? Maurice J. Gallagher, Allegiant Air president & CEO, said. ?This is an exciting new addition for our airline and our customers as we launch the first scheduled nonstop service between MidAmerica and Las Vegas.

?The new flights will operate twice weekly, with service Monday and Friday. Beginning April 29, flights will depart MidAmerica at 9:05 p.m. arriving in Las Vegas at 10:35 p.m. Flights leaving Las Vegas will depart at 3:10 p.m. arriving at St. Louis at 8:25 p.m. (all flight times are local).

Mike Shannon, officials spokesman for MidAmerica Airport, said, ?The addition of Allegiant Air and a third popular vacation destination from MidAmerica proves that the convenient, no-hassle airport is the way to go for folks in the St. Louis region who know how to have fun! When you go to Las Vegas, you want to get there without spending a lot of time parking and waiting in line. And it doesn?t hurt to arrive with a little extra in your wallet that you saved in airfare.?

To read more: Source

I never thought I'd see this airport land another airline for sometime...I'm glad it has though. Up, Up and Away!!! :P
MidAmerica Airport welcomes new airline

MASCOUTAH, Ill. St. Clair County Board chairman Mark Kern says Allegiant Air will begin offering nonstop flights from MidAmerica Airport to Las Vegas on April 29th.

The St. Clair County Public Building Commission approved the agreement yesterday.

Flights will run twice a week on Mondays and Fridays. As part of the agreement, the county board waived landing, gate and counter fees for Allegiant for one year.

Allegiant is offering a 49-dollar one-way introductory fare from MidAmerica to Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport until April Eighth. After that, the fares will range from 89-dollars to 199-dollars for a one-way ticket.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Source: http://www.kwqc.com/Global/story.asp?S=3050553

Looks like MidAmerica is finally taking off after, what, 10 years almost? There must be a mess-up with the dates in this article... maybe they mean the fare sale ends May 8?
Airport development proposals unveiled

National Guard armory is planned



MASCOUTAH - St. Clair County leaders today are expected to announce a bevy of new development proposals for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, the county-owned airport that has struggled to turn a profit.

"Here it comes," Airport Director Tim Cantwell said. "We've been working on this for a long time."

Airport officials today are scheduled to announce:

? Designs for a 38,000-square-foot Illinois National Guard armory on the east end of the airport. The armory will house a new 114-soldier unit aimed at providing homeland security.

? A private developer who's agreed to lease more than half of the airport's new 50,000-square-foot cargo terminal. The developer also has plans to construct industrial support facilities, such as truck maintenance and repair, adjacent to the cargo building.

? Plans for a hotel, conference center and office park that would be built along Interstate 64 to provide lodging and meeting space for people using MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

"Anything that comes along and spurs other development is great for us in Mascoutah and great for the whole region," said Mascoutah Mayor Gerald Daugherty. "I'm excited to hear about it even though I didn't know much about it."

The federal government has already set aside the funding to construct the new Illinois National Guard armory, Cantwell said. It's expected to cost between $6 million and $8 million and will house a new National Guard unit designed to address biological and chemical threats.

"That's what we're looking at, but we still have to perform a feasibility study," said Chief Warrant Officer Bud Roberts of the Illinois National Guard.

The Illinois National Guard will lease 15 acres from MidAmerica Airport to build the armory. In exchange, the unit will pay St. Clair County about $6,500 a year in rent.

Leasing space in the cargo building will be a little more profitable, Cantwell said. Private developers leasing 26,000 square feet of space at the airport's cargo building will pay the county between $70,000 and $100,000 a year, he said.

The county also would receive funding for any land leased for a hotel, conference center or office park, although those details have yet to be released. Cantwell on Tuesday also declined to release the name of the private developer until the formal news conference today.

The news conference today is the third in the past seven months, the second this month alone, announcing new tenants coming to MidAmerica Airport.

TransMeridian Airlines, of Lithia Springs, Ga., last fall launched charter passenger service to Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla.

Allegiant Air LLC, of Las Vegas, earlier this month announced it will offer scheduled passenger service to its Nevada home starting next month.

Contact reporter Patrick J. Powers at ppowers@bnd.com or 239-2562.

Regional group unveils plans for MidAmerica



MASCOUTAH - MidAmerica Land & Development LLC -- a group of regional developers and transportation executives -- will serve as the lead developer for a number of projects planned at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

St. Clair County leaders on Wednesday formally introduced the group and its ambitious plans for the airport. They include a hotel, conference center, office park, truck stop and about 900 acres of industrial support services and transportation infrastructure.

The company plans to lease more than half the 50,000-square-foot cargo terminal now under construction at MidAmerica Airport. While the company plans to begin transferring freight through the terminal later this year, the other parts of the project will be years in the making.

"We're partnering up with recognized developers," said Jim Williams, a member of MidAmerica Land & Development. "We're talking about real players in the development arena that can do some of the things we're talking about doing."

Also introduced was Col. Gary Widner, construction and facilities manager for the Illinois National Guard. The guard on Wednesday announced its intention to build an $8.1 million armory at the airport to house a new 114-soldier unit combating biological and chemical threats.

St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern didn't attend the announcement at MidAmerica, but offered the following prepared statement:

"As we all had hoped, MidAmerica Airport is proving itself a catalyst for economic development of this region.

"Once we had established the critical elements of passenger service and air cargo facilities, it didn't take long for experienced developers to see the potential of the airport and nearby highways to become a national transportation hub."

MidAmerica Land & Development was singing a similar tune.

"We really believe in what (Public Building Commission Chairman) Rich Sauget and (Airport Director) Tim Cantwell are up to," said Paul McKee Jr., an O'Fallon, Mo.,-based developer. "This is going to be an incredible international hub for freight."

MidAmerica Land & Development will be based at MidAmerica Airport. The list of those involved with the new company include:

? McKee, chairman of McEagle Properties LLC and Paric Corp. McKee is one of the architects of the 1,100-acre WingHaven planned community in O'Fallon, Mo.

? Williams, the chief executive officer of Sunset Transportation Inc. The Sunset Hills, Mo.,-based company is a third-party logistics company, arranging transportation by other trucking companies to meet its clients' needs.

? Ross Jacobs, chief executive officer of Catamount Cargo Services. The Chicago-based company started in 2001 with a focus on handling international cargo freight. It operates a 70,000-square-foot cargo building in Bensenville.

? Tom Patterson, president of Raptor Logistics & Transportation Inc. Raptor Transportation is a domestic trucking company based in Granite City. Patterson, a truck driver by trade, will serve as president of MidAmerica Land & Development.

To accomplish its goals, the company plans to lease more than half the 50,000-square-foot cargo terminal now under construction at MidAmerica Airport. It plans to construct the hotel, conference center, office park and truck stop by 2011, and the industrial park by 2025.

"We're pretty happy about all of it," Cantwell said. "This is an exciting time for MidAmerica and St. Clair County."

Contact reporter Patrick J. Powers at ppowers@bnd.com or 239-2562.
Deal primes MidAmerica area for takeoff


Of the Post-Dispatch


A coalition of developers and transportation executives announced plans Wednesday to turn more than 900 acres of undeveloped land northwest of MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah into a regional hub for manufacturing and warehousing by 2025.

The announcement followed the signing of a formal agreement between the group, which is calling itself MidAmerica Land & Development LLC, and St. Clair County officials. The deal was made public shortly after the county's Public Building Commission approved unrelated plans for an $8.1 million facility near the airport that will house a new division of the Illinois Army National Guard.

Tim Cantwell, the MidAmerica Airport director, said the projects would jump-start development near the airport, which opened in Mascoutah in 1998 and is surrounded by undeveloped farmland.

Cantwell described MidAmerica Land & Development as "an all-star team of experts in major real estate projects." Among its members are James A. Williams, chief executive of Sunset Transportation Inc., a St. Louis transportation logistics company; Darwin Miles, whose company, Miles Properties, helped start the commercial development boom in nearby Shiloh; and Paul J. McKee Jr., whose McEagle Properties developed the 1,200-acre WingHaven community in O'Fallon, Mo.

The $213 million airport has struggled to attract and retain airlines. Long periods of dormancy at the airport did little to entice developers.

But recent events, including the construction of a $7 million cargo facility south of the airport's passenger terminal and the recent addition of two passenger carriers - TransMeridian Airlines and Allegiant Air - have primed the area around the airport for development, Williams said Wednesday.

"This is really a diamond in the rough," Williams said. "As I continued to learn more things about it, I started talking to other developers that I know."

Ideas for the area include the development of 900 acres south of Interstate 64 and east of Illinois Route 158 for manufacturing and warehousing purposes, including a 40-acre "travel plaza" ("It's a polite way of saying 'a truck stop,'" Williams said).

In addition, 40 acres between the airport parking lot and Interstate 64 would be reserved for retail and office development and a 120-room hotel and conference center. Finally, MidAmerica Land & Development also would attempt to lease half of the airport's 50,000-square-foot cargo facility.

Williams said that he believes development near MidAmerica will be the "logical extension" of the commercial development that recently has transformed the once sleepy village of Shiloh into a regional retail hub.

Shiloh leaders believe the village population has swelled to more than 10,000 residents - up from 7,463 recorded in the 2000 census. They attribute the increase in part to a new Interstate 64 interchange at North Green Mount Road, which was completed in 2001.

McKee said the availability of land near the airport and cargo facility made MidAmerica a strong candidate to become the Midwest's next major cargo hub.

"This is Main and Main," McKee said. "This is the heart of it. Why should they land in Miami, JFK (in New York) or LAX (in Los Angeles) when they could just land here, at the center?"

In an unrelated move, airport and county officials announced a tentative deal to lease 15 acres west of the airport near the corner of Siebert Road and Old Illinois Route 158 to the Illinois Army National Guard. The guard would build a 38,800-square-foot armory where it would train soldiers in chemical decontamination techniques.

The facility, which would be built by 2007, would have four full-time employees who would train 130 soldiers one weekend every month.

"We felt that there was good potential in this area for recruiting soldiers," Col. Gary W. Widner of the National Guard said Wednesday. "We felt that this was an area where we could be successful."

Reporter William Lamb

E-mail: wlamb@post-dispatch.com

Phone: 618-235-6142
Airline to finish year at airport

Flights from MidAmerica at 80 percent capacity



MASCOUTAH - TransMeridian Airlines on Tuesday announced it will continue charter service through the end of the year to the Orlando area.

"TransMeridian offers great value and service," MidAmerica St. Louis Airport director Tim Cantwell said in a statement. "That, along with MidAmerica's convenience, free parking and our new concession area add up to an outstanding travel experience."

The Lithia Springs, Ga.-based airline opened service at MidAmerica Airport on Nov. 21 with an agreement to fly for at least six months. Promising sales extended the contract through Sept. 6 and again through Jan. 6.

TransMeridian flies on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Flights after Sept. 6 will be limited to Mondays and Fridays, with Wednesday flights added during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The airline ran that same schedule last year.

The airline, on average, has managed to fill about 80 percent of the seats on flights from Mid America. It was the first airline to fulfill its initial operating agreement with the St. Clair County-owned airport.

Great Plains Airlines went bankrupt in January 2004 after nearly three months of service. Pan Am Airlines survived about 16 months at MidAmerica, but quit flying from the airport after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks forced a downturn in the industry.

Contact reporter Patrick J. Powers at ppowers@bnd.com or 239-2562.
Airline bets fliers will fill Vegas flights



Company will double MidAmerica departures

Strong demand from local travelers compelled Allegiant Air LLC to double the number of weekly flights it will offer later this summer from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport to Las Vegas, the company said Thursday.

"We've been delighted with the response from the Southern Illinois region," spokesman Tyri Squyres said. "It's exceeded our expectations."

The Las Vegas-based airline on April 29 will launch its initial service from MidAmerica Airport with flights departing at 9:05 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays. On June 30, the airline will add flights with the same departure time on Sundays and Thursdays.

The company declined to give specifics on the number of flights that have been booked so far.

In exchange for the expanded flight schedule, the St. Clair County Public Building Commission on Thursday pledged to spend another $50,000 marketing the venture. That figure will be on top of the $220,000 in marketing incentives county leaders promised when Allegiant Air arrived last month.

"We are very pleased to expand support for Allegiant Air's nonstop service to Las Vegas," St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern said. "We are confident that our community will fill these seats."

To kick off the four-day-a-week service, Allegiant Air also announced a $69 one-way fare for customers booking flights on its Web site. The $69 fare must be purchased by May 27 and is valid from June 30 through Sept. 30.

Allegiant Air currently serves 16 cities nationwide and caters to Las Vegas-bound travelers. It also operates occasional charter flights for Harrah's from MidAmerica to a casino and hotel in Laughlin, Nev.

Currently, Lithia Springs, Ga.-based TransMeridian Airlines is the only airline ferrying passengers in and out of MidAmerica. The charter airline offers flights to Sanford International Airport near Orlando, Fla., with continuing service to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Allegiant Air plans to utilize a 150-seat MD-80 jet aircraft for service to Las Vegas. It's the same type of airplane the airline uses when it operates the Laughlin charter flight. Flights can be purchased online at www.allegiantair.com or over the phone by calling (800) 432-3810.

Contact reporter Patrick J. Powers at ppowers@bnd.com or 239-2562.
Airbus to consider MidAmerica for tanker plant

31 other locations also in the running



The world's largest commercial aircraft manufacturer is considering Boeing's backyard for a new manufacturing plant for the KC-330 air refueling tanker.

European Aeronautic Defence and Space N.V., the parent company of Airbus SAS, has announced MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah is one of 32 sites across the country where it might build a 1 million-square-foot plant that could employ between 1,000 and 2,000 workers.

Terry Beach, St. Clair County's economic development director, said the state asked the county to submit the airport as a potential site.

"The state of Illinois asked us to submit the airport in the 11th hour and asked me to coordinate it, and I did that," said Beach, who made the submission March 22. "Airbus has decided to work strictly with the state government. It was the state that submitted our proposal to Airbus."

In January, when Airbus announced plans to build an air refueling tanker plant in the United States, it stated it is looking for an airport with a runway that is at least 9,000 feet long and has space to accommodate 1.5 million square feet for production, hangars and office space. MidAmerica has a 10,000-foot-long runway and lots of open land surrounding it.

Airbus also stated the winning site would need a transportation infrastructure with rail and road access, plus a means of large-volume transport to a deep-water seaport. The metro-east has rail and interstate access, plus barge access to New Orleans.

State economic development leaders and Airbus spokesmen could not be reached Tuesday to comment on MidAmerica's qualifications or other aspects of the site selection.

Access to a skilled workforce was also cited as important to the winning site.

The U.S. Air Force is currently selecting the next generation of aircraft to provide in-flight refueling of aircraft. Scott Air Force Base, which shares facilities with MidAmerica, is home to 11 KC-135Es, the current version of the military's flying gas stations.

Boeing had been selected to provide the new tankers, but a scandal involving the decision process reopened the competition and Airbus is now in the running.

Boeing has its corporate headquarters in Chicago and conducts much of its military manufacturing in St. Louis. Boeing spokesman Doug Kennett said his company welcomes the competition.

"We look forward to the competition with Airbus," Kennett said. "We believe we've got a superior product."

MidAmerica Airport director Tim Cantwell said he is "on the periphery" of the issue.

"They're looking at all sites, from what I know," Cantwell said. "We're always in the mix for a number of sites."

Adam Hill, Mascoutah's economic development coordinator, said the city has heard nothing from Airbus, but the city was coordinating its efforts through St. Clair County.

Contact Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 345-7822, ext. 24.
Why fly for $300 only on weekends when I can fly at $100 less on Southwest any day of the week from Lambert? I can't Even get a return sunday flight until July! MidAmerica should be busting it's butt to get ATA, AirTran, JetBlue, and other cheap regional airlines. Hey don't get me wrong, I think it's nice that MidAmerica is getting commercial passenger flights (for once), but with Lambert regrouping, can MidAmerica really stand to compete without superior destinations for cost? Heck I just booked a flight from Midway to Vegas on Southwest for 150 round trip! I could drive to Midway, and the gas plus flight is cheaper than what I'd pay at MidAmerican. Don't get too excited folks.

I went to both websites, and chose the departure times and the arrival times for the same days and same locations, May28th, and June28th.

The total for Southwest's cheapest, "Fun Fare" was 364$ including tax.

The total for Allegiant was $153.90 including tax.

Southwest also included a layover in Phoenix.

Don't try to bullsh*t me. I'll do my research if I have to.



Trip Routing Type of Fare Base Fare U.S.

Taxes PFC and

Security Fee1 Passenger(s) Total

Depart STL-LAS Fun Fare $155.35 $14.85 $7.00 1 $177.20

Return LAS-PHX-STL Fun Fare $155.35 $18.05 $14.00 1 $187.40

Total $310.70 $32.90 $21.00 $364.6

Allegiant Air




06/28/2005 419 BLV 9:05PM LAS 10:35PM M83 0 1 69.00 5.70 74.70

07/28/2005 418 LAS 3:10PM BLV 8:25PM M83 0 1 69.00 10.20 79.20

TOTAL $138.00 $15.90 $153.90

TOTAL $153.90

Airbus Reviews MidAmerica Airport For Possible Manufacturing Facility

created: 4/26/2005 11:37:16 AM

updated: 4/27/2005 8:13:42 AM

By Steve Jankowski

Illinois Bureau Chief

(KSDK) - An all-but-empty airport and a neighboring Air Force base could be the perfect combination to bring new jobs to our area.

Mascoutah, Illinois is among the cities reportedly being considered for a plant to manufacture aerial refueling tankers.

It's much too early to pop the champagne, but Mascoutah has learned it is one of 32 U.S. communities on the list being considered by the Airbus Corporation.

Airbus reportedly wants to build a facility that would cover at least one million square feet and initially employee 2,000 people. MidAmerica airport and its proximity to major highways and rail service are factors under scrutiny.

But those working to bring more economic development to this historic southern Illinois town stress they won't get their hopes up until the list is narrowed to five or six possible locations.

Adam Hill is an economic development coordinator, "I know that in dealing with the local county officials and state officials, they are submitting the appropriate site data. As far as anything more than that, I think that's premature. I think that's something that would happen as we get closer and closer. We were requested to submit the appropriate data and we did."

There is no time table. Hill just worries the state won't be able to offer any financial incentives.