What is an Airport Master Plan?

An Airport Master Plan is a series of reports and planning documents that are created to define future development actions at an airport.  An Airport Master Plan is also a communication instrument between all airport stakeholders, including the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT); Scott Air Force Base; local communities of Belleville, Mascoutah, Shiloh, O’Fallon, and Lebanon; airport users Boeing, North Bay Produce, AVMATS; and most importantly the Public.  Please note that due to the master plan’s focus on the air passenger terminal, this master planning effort is being phased.

Why is MidAmerica St. Louis Airport preparing a new Airport Master Plan?

A rule of thumb for airports of similar size to MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is to conduct a new Airport Master Plan every 5-10 years, unless a change in aeronautical activities necessitate a new planning review.  The last Airport Master Plan was approved by the FAA in 2009, approximately nine years ago.  However, over the last three years MidAmerica St. Louis Airport has seen dramatic growth in air passengers and this increase has placed a strain on airfield facilities.  Based on the recent aeronautical growth, conducting a new Airport Master Plan at this time is a prudent action.

How is an Airport Master Plan funded?

The Airport Master Plan is co-funded by the FAA, IDOT and MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.  FAA will provide 90% of the project funding with IDOT and the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport contributing 5% each.  FAA funds come from the Aviation Trust Fund, which is comprised of aviation user fees, taxes on airline tickets and aviation fuel.  IDOT funds come from State appropriated monies and the local share comes from MidAmerica St. Louis Airport.

What guidance and criteria are used in creating this Airport Master Plan Update?

The criteria used in the preparation of the MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Master Plan is contained in the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) published Advisory Circular 150-5070-6B “Airport Master Plans”.[1]  Additional FAA guidance used in this Airport Master Plan will include:  Advisory Circular 150/5300-13A, Change 1 “Airport Design”.

What makes up this Airport Master Plan Update?

The MidAmerica St. Louis Airport Master Plan Update – Phase 1 is comprised of several planning elements (chapters) including:

  • Existing Conditions / Inventory Chapter
  • Forecasts Demand Projections Chapter
  • Facility Requirements – Terminal Focus Chapter
  • Alternatives Analysis Chapter
  • Terminal Programming Document
  • Financial Analysis Report
  • Stakeholder/Public Involvement Program
  • Airport Geographic Information Systems Input

Copies of all these reports will be posted to this website as they are accepted/approved.

What are Aviation Forecasts?

Projected (forecasted) future airport facility needs depend on how often those facilities may be used.  Defining cost effective airport development is part of an Airport Master Plan.  Two major forecast elements prepared during an Airport Master Plan are:  How many passengers use the airport?  How many aircraft use the airport?  Passenger Enplanements (See Why are there multiple ways to count air passengers?  It is confusing! below in FAQs) can be a major strain on airport facilities and can also be a major source of airport development revenue.  Aircraft operations can also place a strain on airside facilities (runways, taxiways, aprons, etc.).  Projected aircraft operations by type and amount are necessary to ensure future facilities are not overwhelmed.

What is an Airport Layout Plan?

An Airport Layout Plan (ALP) is a set of plans and drawings that graphically depict the findings of an Airport Master Plan report.  These complex drawings are used by the Airport to communicate to the FAA, Illinois DOT, Airport Users and the Public, the future expectations for the airfield.  The ALP is also used by the FAA to determine potential airspace conflicts with future development outside the airfield boundary.  Plans and/or drawings that are included in the ALP are: Title/Cover Sheet, Airport Data Sheet; Existing ALP Sheet, Future ALP Sheet, Inner Approach Plan Sheets, FAR Part 77 Approach Plan Sheet, and Airport Property Sheet.

Who needs to see and review an Airport Master Plan?

All Airport Stakeholders, Airport Users, Federal and State Government Officials, Public, and in short everyone that wants to see it, should.  Copies of report documents and chapters, as they are accepted or approved by the FAA, will be uploaded to this web site.

Why are there multiple ways to count air passengers?  It is confusing!

Air Passengers are counted in several ways.  Passengers getting on (boarding) a commercial airliner at MidAmerica St. Louis Airport are called “enplaned” passengers.  The number of passengers getting on an airliner is important in that FAA provides financial assistance to an airport based on the number of “enplaned” passengers.  This FAA measure of passengers getting on an airliner is call an “enplanement”.  Passengers getting off an airliner are called “deplaned” passengers.  FAA does not provide financial assistance to an airport regarding the number of “deplaned” passengers.  The number of “enplaned” passengers added to the number of “deplaned” passengers creates the “total” number of passengers served.  A simple rule of thumb to determine the “total” number of passengers is to double the “enplaned” number of passengers.  The passenger levels are normally listed by calendar year.  For more information regarding air passengers, please use the link below to the FAA web site.[2]

Why does the Master Plan need to know the “total” number of passengers in a year?

Understanding the “total” number of passengers using MidAmerica St. Louis Airport is important in being able to determine if existing terminal facilities are sufficient.  “Total” passenger numbers can determine if items such as auto parking facilities, passenger queuing space at the ticket counter, passenger throughput in security screening, number of seats in the passenger hold rooms, seating and space for concessions and even the number of restrooms are sufficient.  In this master plan, existing and forecasted passenger levels will be used to determine if these and other airfield facilities are acceptable.

What is BLV?

The Federal Aviation Administration and other international aviation organizations issue airport location identifiers for aeronautical facilities in the United States.  The identifiers are normally a three to five-character alphanumeric code.  In many cases the alphanumeric code relates to the airport’s name or location.  For example, STL is easily understood as being the identifier for St. Louis Lambert International Airport.  And ALN is the identifier for St. Louis Regional Airport in Alton.  However, sometimes an identifier may be hard to understand its origin.  For example, Chicago O’Hare International Airport’s identifier is ORD.  That identifier is a reference to the historical military airfield name of Orchard Field.  BLV is the identifier for MidAmerica St. Louis Airport and Scott Air Force Base and is an abbreviation for Belleville.


[1] https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policies/advisory_circulars/index.cfm/go/document.information/documentID/22329

[2] https://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/