MidAmerica Airport expansion to finish a year early thanks to $9.7 million grant

A project to expand MidAmerica St. Louis Airport’s terminal is expected to finish a year early thanks to a $9.7 million federal grant awarded to the metro-east airport.

The Department of Transportation grant will be used to complete the expansion project a year ahead of schedule. Airport Director Bryan Johnson said he expects the project to wrap up in Dec. 2022 instead of Dec. 2023.

When it’s finished, the terminal will be 98,599 square feet.

The new space is planned to include a new security screening area, two additional boarding bridges, an area for service animals, family restrooms, a nursing room, a larger lounge and additional concession areas. The plan also includes renovations that will help the airport better accommodate people with disabilities, Johnson said.

“MidAmerica Airport plays an important role in connecting residents and military personnel in our region to key destinations across the United States,” said U.S. Representative Mike Bost, who announced that MidAmerica would receive the grant. “Expanding the terminal building will help ensure that MidAmerica can make necessary updates and continue to serve the needs of Southern Illinoisans for years to come.”

Johnson said the expanded terminal will help with booming demand for flights and a growing number of departures from the airport.

“For us as an airport, being able to complete this project one year ahead of schedule saves us money and helps us accommodate the growth that we’re seeing,” Johnson said. “It fosters growth and helps expand the market a little bit more.”

The airport is anticipating its 2021 passenger total will be roughly 14% over 2019’s total when the airport saw its highest number of passengers ever, Johnson said. In February, Johnson said the airport’s growth is due in part because of Allegiant Airline’s success with leisure travel.

Since 2015, the airport has grown from a yearly total of 63,000 passengers to more than 300,000 in 2019, and passenger counts have increased consistently to make MidAmerica the sixth-busiest passenger terminal in Illinois, according to annual MidAmerica reports.