Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine October/November 2022 Digital Issue
ST. LOUIS, MO. – Located just minutes from the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Downtown Airport has long been recognized for providing chartered flights with unparalleled access to downtown St. Louis and the surrounding region, hosting more than 100,000 flight operations annually. Many may not realize, however, that the airport also is home to a host of aerospace tenants, and it is the operations at some of these organizations that have really been taking off and will bring scores of new jobs to the region.
Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. is the largest tenant at the airport, which is located in Cahokia Heights and Sauget, Illinois. A recently announced expansion will bring 140 new well-paying positions to the Gulfstream St. Louis Service Center, a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility that already employs approximately 375 individuals in various capacities. The expansion will increase production of custom cabinetry and exterior paint capacity for Gulfstream’s in-demand, large-cabin aircraft.
Gulfstream is taking a proactive approach to workforce development in the area and offers opportunities for advancement with a structured path to progress employees as they gain experience in training to the different levels existing in their job category. The company’s website career page includes details about various trainee positions, as well as the different categories of open positions. Sign-on bonuses and some relocation packages to St. Louis are offered for select positions.
Ideal Aviation, which operates a flight school and aircraft maintenance and repair facility at St. Louis Downtown Airport, has been growing approximately 25% each year for the past several years, and now has 25 employees onsite. The company moved to a larger hangar and office space at the airport in February 2021, and is once again at capacity and will need more hangar and parking space as it continues to grow.
“We attribute our growth to strong demand for pilot training and a program which provides some of the best instructors in town working with new, well-maintained aircraft in a comfortable environment,” said Bill Macon, Managing Partner of Ideal Aviation. “Our central location is also a plus.”
Ideal Aviation is currently fully staffed, something Macon attributes to the quality of their operations and company culture and strong relationships with Southwestern Illinois College and St. Louis University, but he says they are always on the lookout for qualified Certified Flight Instructors and mechanics who would fit well with their team. He invites interested candidates to submit a resume or to visit their facility to learn more.
With its headquarters and largest facility at St. Louis Downtown Airport, Helicopters Inc. is a growing aviation company that specializes in turn-key Helicopter Electronic News Gathering (ENG) solutions for TV news outlets across the country. The company has approximately 70 helicopters on its fleet, providing “eye in the sky” customized packages to more than 40 news stations in more than 30 cities coast-to-coast. This core business remains strong across the country, with markets continuing to recognize the benefits of a turn-key helicopter solution ready when they are to capture everything from morning traffic to high-speed vehicle pursuits. In addition to a continued focus on the ENG market, the company has seen notable growth in the charter and VIP tourism spaces. Helicopters Inc. currently has 260 employees nationwide with 37 working at the St. Louis Downtown Airport facility, where the current footprint is adequate to handle continued growth.
“We have enjoyed our longstanding relationship with the airport,” said Ryan Harbison, Vice President Business Development for Helicopters, Inc. “Their support is outstanding, and we look forward to many more years of partnership and growth operating out of St. Louis Downtown Airport.”
Helicopters, Inc. also currently has several full-time and part-time pilot positions available and is always looking for well-qualified maintenance personnel to help the local team and other teams across the country.
“We are continuously seeking qualified candidates to satisfy the demands of our industry and have been successful maintaining an industry leading workforce during these challenging times,” Harbison said. “While we are based out of the St. Louis region and look forward to continuing our growth here, we have a national presence in more than 30 major cities. We encourage personnel interested in aviation or aviation maintenance to check out our openings as we expand into new and exciting verticals of the aviation industry.”
“We are so appreciative of the commitment these tenants have to this region and excited about the opportunities their growth will provide for so many people who will be hired for new positions in the months and years to come,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises at Bi-State Development. St. Louis Downtown Airport is one of the enterprises operated by Bi-State Development.
“We’re even more excited this growth will be occurring here at St. Louis Downtown Airport, where Gulfstream recently signed a new 10-year lease and will be a key beneficiary of the new Ground Engine Run-Up project that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced a $5 million grant award for last fall. We’re investing in this project to support a critical improvement that will benefit the aircraft maintenance providers operating at St. Louis Downtown Airport and support a fantastic industry,” said Sandra Shore, Director of St. Louis Downtown Airport.
About Bi-State Development
Bi-State Development (BSD) owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. BSD is the operator of the Metro Transit public transportation system in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois, which includes the 87-vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; a MetroBus vehicle fleet of approximately 24 battery electric vehicles and nearly 400 clean-burning diesel buses that operate on 59 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 123 vans. BSD also operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the region’s freight district. To learn more about St. Louis Downtown Airport, visit www.stlouisdowntownairport.com.