There are many secondary airports in the US that are in a similar situation as ORH, like Rockford (Chicago), Stewart (upstate New York), Arnold Palmer (Pennsylvania) and MidAmerica (St Louis). Earlier this week I had blogged a story of how Stewart had worked a deal to develop space for hangars that was worth milions and millions of dollars. Followed by another story about how Tracy Airport in California has worked with Boyd Aviation to develop a Master Plan that also included the development of additional hangar space.
Now from MidAmerica Airport a story regarding air cargo warehouse space. An airport has many revenue sources and we need to develop all of them to wipe out a $1,500,000 space. ORH has plenty of extra land maybe we should be looking to lease out space for companies to build air cargo warehouses also??
BEFORE LAST week, we didn't know the Riau Islands from Gilligan's Island. We got a valuable education when the governor of that Indonesian province visited MidAmerica St. Louis Airport. We learned the Riau Islands were growing wildly, an economic powerhouse drawing lots of foreign investment. We learned they were strategically located just a few miles south of Singapore on the major shipping route between the Indian Ocean and Asia. And we learned their governor, Ismeth Abdullah, was the former leader of their industrial development commission -- the group that helped bring more than 9,000 local and 700 foreign manufacturing plants to the province's main island, Batam. Batam now accounts for $6.8 billion, or 14 percent, of Indonesia's exports excluding gas and oil.
Abdullah toured the metro-east and got the sales pitch for MidAmerica Airport, which has an $8 million, 50,000-square-foot air cargo warehouse standing ready. He also saw the metro-east's nexus of highways, rail and river transit drawing huge distribution centers that his province's electronics manufacturers could access via air cargo."It's a very strategic location," Abdullah said. "It's straight in the middle of the United States. We will learn from here how to create the cooperation."
Encouraging words from a man who knows the value of location. MidAmerica Director Tim Cantwell and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern made a lot of optimistic predictions last fall about the airport, including that the cargo facility will be fully rented this year. The fact that MidAmerica drew the time and attention of a man whose market is the world has us feeling a little optimistic, too. For the taxpayers' sake, here's hoping this becomes a deal that would make Thurston Howell III smile
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