FAA Celebrates Recovery Act Funded ARFF Facility at St. Louis Downtown Airport

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today celebrated the completion of an Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting building at St. Louis Downtown Airport, East St. Louis, Ill., paid for with $4.7 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.

“This new facility in East St. Louis is one of the many Recovery Act projects that are helping make important safety improvements at airports around the country,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.   

Recovery Act funds paid the full cost of building the structure, which will house employees and a fire and rescue vehicle.  FAA regulations require airports with unscheduled passenger-carrying aircraft of at least 31 passenger seats to have a fire and rescue facility on airport property.  St. Louis Downtown Airport now receives charter operations by unscheduled air carriers and commuter service about three times per week and was required to build this facility.

“Airports need to be prepared for any emergency, and this facility will help ensure the safety of passengers and flight crews,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt.

The St. Louis Downtown Airport is the third-busiest Illinois airport in number of operations, behind only Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Chicago Midway Airport.  In fiscal year 2010, the airport had more than 111,000 takeoffs and landings.

Nationwide, $1.3 billion in Recovery Act money has been made available for both airport improvement projects and air traffic control facility and system upgrades.  Because of low construction bids for projects, more Recovery Act dollars were available for additional facilities and equipment as well as airport projects.  These Recovery Act grants have been distributed to airports that serve commercial passengers, cargo and general aviation.