The Federal Aviation Administration has accepted St. Louis' preliminary application to participate in the Airport Privatization Pilot Program.
The pilot program is the result of a 1997 federal law, reauthorized in 2012, allowing up to 10 publicly-owned airports to enter into lease agreements with private operators. St. Louis Lambert International Airport is the second medium hub airport to join the program.
Acceptance into the program allows the city to begin negotiations with private entities wishing to operate the airport. Any agreement is subject to local laws, final approval from airlines operating out of the airport and the FAA.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao said this approach to airport management "increases productivity, revenue and operating efficiency for airports, creating greater access to capital for infrastructure needs."
The city started the process in March under then-Mayor Francis Slay. He called acceptance into the program an opportunity to give the airport a "shot in the arm," while also generating funds the city could use for various purposes including infrastructure improvements and public transportation.
Mayor Lyda Krewson has said she is open to studying the program to identify how a lease agreement could benefit the city and the airport.
"This is a great opportunity to explore a public private partnership for the airport," she said. "I appreciate their consideration of our application and look forward to working with the FAA throughout the process, but as always, the key is in the details."
St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Office of the Mayor