MidAmerica airport presses China hub while some say it's a 'boondoggle'

2012 03 10

MIDAMERICA St Louis Airport approval by St Clair County Board of US$550 million of bond issue to pay for a China air freight hub has been criticised by industry expert.

Aviation consultant Michael Boyd, of the Colorado-based Boyd Group International, a long-standing critic of the "big idea" of air cargo operation between St Louis and China, said Strategic Air Cargo's scheme is a "boondoggle" and a "national embarrassment".

But Strategic Air Cargo spokesman Gary Andreas said: "Nobody on the St Clair County side has gone into this blindly".

The air cargo group must still repay the bonds, despite tax-exemption, and should backers substitute equity for debt it is unlikely to borrow the whole amount, he added.

Further evidence of concrete links to a group, yet to be incorporated, is its partnership with BB&T Capital Markets, a subsidiary of a North Carolina bank, said Mark Kern, the county board chairman, of an underused airport with distinct advantages of lowest landing fees and excess developable land.

Mr Boyd stands by his previous criticism of a China hub in St Louis as a "pipe dream". Air cargo must be shipped to a place where the stuff is used or being built, not shipped by truck for another day and a half to New York.

Source Shipping Gazette - Daily Shipping News

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