Feel the Familial Spirit at Spirit of St. Louis
The Midwest hospitality and familial spirit is prevalent at Missouri’s Spirit of St. Louis Airport (KSUS). Much like a family, the more than 3,000 employees who call KSUS “home” support each other, support their community and work towards a common goal – to provide world-class aviation support services for business and general aviation needs.
The airport, which is home to three FBOs, flight schools, at least seven MRO providers, charter operators and aircraft sales outfits, is owned and operated by the St. Louis County Government. However, it’s run more like a private business in that airport funding does not come from general revenue tax dollars. The airport supports itself with revenue from land development, real estate rental and wholesale fuel sales.
“The airport doesn’t flourish unless its tenants flourish,” said John Bales, Director of Aviation, Spirit of St. Louis Airport. “And the tenants don’t flourish without first-class professional facilities and customer service-focused personnel.”
As the “Business Aviation Center of the Midwest,” the airport and its tenants provide an annual economic impact of $400 million on the surrounding community. Spirit continuously works to improve its facilities and promote the growth of aviation in the St. Louis region by re-investing its profits back into its operations.
What’s on the Horizon
A 7,485-foot all-weather runway, 5,000-foot parallel runway, precision approaches and FAA Control Tower, make Spirit a competitive airport in the region.
The airport also offers a 24-hour port of entry and will be opening a brand new state-of the-art U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) General Aviation Facility (GAF) next year, something Bales is particularly excited about.
“You can fly into Spirit from anywhere in the world and clear customs at any hour of the day or night,” said Bales. “This makes our airport more attractive and efficient for operators. If they couldn’t clear customs, they might not come to this airport. Then, maybe they’ll lease land, build hangars or hangar with an FBO. It’s about getting and keeping business here. The trickle-down effect is where it benefits the airport.”
There are several capital improvement projects in the works. For starters, the airport is widening the north runway, which is critical to develop the land on the north side of the airport. Additionally, the airport is undergoing a taxiway and runway pavement rehab, and they’re also working on some drainage areas.
Quality Fuel Guaranteed
The three FBOs on the field – AeroCharter Jet Center, Million Air and TAC Air – are all Phillips 66 branded dealers and offer Contract Fuel, including for military. The airport serves as the FBOs' fuel wholesaler and operates the fuel farms.
“Most airports have a fuel flowage fee. Fuel flows through it; they really don’t get involved with it,” said Bales. “But at Spirit, one of our revenue sources and part of our business model is that we’re the wholesaler of fuel. We end up selling to the FBOs, who are the retailers. What that does is ensure top quality fuel for every airplane that flies in and out of this airport. It doesn’t matter which FBO you use; you’re going to get the same quality fuel.”
The Spirit of St. Louis Airport has sold Phillips 66 fuel for more than 50 years.
“Our relationship with Phillips 66 is very important,” said Bales. “They support us with marketing, quality control, which is outstanding training, and product delivery. We rely on Phillips 66 to have the product available for our tenants, so that relationship is very important to me.”
To learn more about the Spirit of St. Louis Airport, visit spiritairport.com