What is an Airport Master Plan?
The MidAmerica St. Louis Airport (BLV) is currently conducting an update to its Airport Master Plan. An Airport Master Plan is a long-range strategy that defines future development activities at an airport. These plans allow an airport operator to take a long look at all the elements of the airport—from terminal to taxiways, fuel farm to fire-fighting facilities—and consider how they might need to be changed to meet the demand of the next two decades. The resulting plan also anticipates the costs of those changes, potential environmental impacts, and the activity levels that would need to be reached to start a particular project.
BLV Master Plan Update
BLV’s last Airport Master Plan update was conducted in 2009, before commercial airlines even served the airport. Since that time, BLV has seen a dramatic increase in passenger traffic. This Airport Master Plan update will allow St. Clair County, the owner and operator of MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, to develop a strategy to accommodate existing and future passengers, safely maintain the airfield, and identify opportunities for commercial growth beyond the airlines.
Specifically, the BLV Airport Master Plan update has been enacted to address the growth of commercial air service and the airport’s terminal facilities, and to evaluate additional aeronautical and non-aeronautical business growth.
An update to an Airport Master Plan usually takes around two years to complete. While the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport team and its engineering partner, Crawford, Murphy & Tilly, began the process in 2019, efforts were delayed because of the pandemic. Despite the unanticipated pause, much of the project’s work has been accomplished. Completed draft chapters are available for download [below/in the Document Library], and as more chapters are prepared and accepted, they will be uploaded to this site.
The airport and its engineering partners have completed all of the research and analysis portions of the project. They conducted a thorough inventory of existing airport facilities, its tenants, and the condition of the property. They collected historical and current data regarding passenger, cargo, general aviation, and military operations. They also analyzed the surrounding community, including the industries in the area, anticipated population growth, and economic health. After their data-gathering, the BLV team developed a forecast for future passenger, cargo, and business growth at the airport. This forecast provides the foundation of all project planning for the next 20 years. Finally, the BLV methodology and forecast were approved by the Federal Aviation Administration as a reasonable estimate of future growth.
Using approved forecast, BLV next analyzed the facility requirements needed to support the estimated traffic. The facility requirements provide the building blocks of the master plan update—which projects may need to be conducted, and when—and provide assurances that the airport will safely meet anticipated demand.
Public involvement is an important part of any Airport Master Plan update. The BLV airport conducted a public meeting to explain the Airport Master Plan update process to the community, as well as share the forecast results and facility requirements that this update must accommodate. Meeting attendees and community members were encouraged to submit public comment, to be included in the process. The public comment period is now closed, but another open house will be scheduled to ensure everyone stays informed about the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport’s master plan update.
After the public meeting, the airport examined all of the different ways that the airport’s anticipated growth could be accomplished. Will the airport need to expand the terminal, and if so, in which direction? Will the airport need more apron space for parking commercial aircraft or expanded firefighting facilities? The various design concepts for accommodating that future demand are called Alternatives. BLV studied the Alternatives and chose a Preferred Alternative that best fits utilizes the airport property and accommodates its current and future users.