New life for Mid-America?


Aug 20, 2002
[STRONG][FONT face=HELVETICA size=4]Midamerica May Get New Airline ; County Board Is Asked To Issue $150 Million In Revenue Bonds[BR][/FONT][/STRONG][FONT face=HELVETICA size=2]Source: St. Louis Post - Dispatch [BR]Publication date: 2003-01-22[BR][/FONT][BR][BR][FONT face=Helvetica, Arial size=2]A newly formed airline wants St. Clair County to issue $150 million in revenue bonds as part of its plan to base its operations at the MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah.
[P]Air Florida Airways Corp., a holding company currently in New York, is seeking the bonds. On Tuesday, the St. Clair County Board''s Finance Committee recommended that the board approve an initial bond plan. Later, Air Florida Airways would have to get approval from county officials for final issuance of the bonds.
[P]County officials said the bond issue would not be a financial risk to the county. Air Florida Airways executives said the company would retire the bonds.
[P]Under the plan, Air Florida Airways would start flights in June, serving at least five cities, including Chicago at Midway Airport, company President Joseph Luchetti said in a telephone interview. The airline would initially use a [A class=mlink href=]Boeing[/A] fleet of three MD-80s, and a 757 and 767, he said.
[P]Luchetti said he would announce later what other cities would be served. At one time, the 4-year-old company had planned to primarily serve the Southeast, but now the airline plans passenger flights and cargo shipments nationally and internationally.
[P]The company did not give a breakdown of how it would spend money from the bond issue. Luchetti said he could not give out more details now for business reasons.
[P]What makes MidAmerica so desirable to us, is it is in middle America, he said. It gives us access to the entire country from its center.
[P]County officials said the holding company probably would buy an existing airline to help with its plans.
[P]At Tuesday night''s meeting, county officials said they were cautiously optimistic about Air Florida Airways'' plans at the struggling airport.
[P]The airline industry has been plagued by a financial crisis.
[P]But Air Florida Airways executives said that other airlines have operated with too much fat and that their airline will do well because they plan to run a tight ship.
[P]The company hopes to hire up to 350 employees within the next 60 days, Luchetti said. Many of the employees would come from the St. Louis area, he said. Air Florida Airways is advertising for jobs on its Web site.
[P]Luchetti said that although his firm would use space at the airport, it would locate its headquarters elsewhere in the county.
[P]Dan Maher, director of the county''s administration, said Air Florida Airways'' management team seemed experienced and knowledgeable about the airline industry.
[P]Luchetti said his team is composed of former employees of companies such as People Express, Jet Blue and American Airlines.
[P]Tim Cantwell, director of MidAmerica, said: It means we look like a viable active airport. Right now, except for military use, we look like a ghost town.
[P]MidAmerica''s first regularly scheduled service ended in December 2001, when Pan American Airways shut down flights there. Multi-Aero Inc., which has attempted to launch flights to Chicago from MidAmerica, has had only limited flight service at the airport.
[P]Multi-Aero has had one flight at the airport this month, with none last month and two in November, Cantwell said.
[P]St. Clair County officials have expected the $213 million airport, which opened in 1998, to operate in the red for several years.
[P]In March, county officials hope to see new life at the airport. Aviation Material & Technical Support is opening a 27,000-square- foot jet repair center that officials believe also will dramatically improve traffic at the county-owned airport. They hope it will attract 1,000 new airplane takeoffs and landings a month.
[P]Aviation Material, which repairs mostly corporate jets, has a 25- year lease with the airport, officials said. They added that they are still working on a lease agree ment with Air Florida Airways.


Aug 20, 2002
Its amazing when you pull up their web site and see the old Air Florida logo.


Aug 20, 2002
What is their website?

Oh, and B767's from Mid-America? Sure, that will happen