Boeing To Open New Plant At Illinois' MidAmerica Airport


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Boeing To Open New Plant At Illinois' MidAmerica Airport

Bill Goldston

August 20, 2010 - Boeing announced that it is expanding its St. Louis-area operations with the planned opening of a new manufacturing facility at MidAmerica Airport in Mascoutah. 

The facility, tentatively scheduled to open in late 2010 or early 2011, will use leased space in an existing building to house assembly and subassembly work. It is expected to initially bring approximately 75 new manufacturing jobs to Illinois. 

Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS) President and CEO Dennis Muilenburg addressed U.S., state and local officials, Boeing employees, and the media at a ceremony in Mascoutah. 


?This facility?s proximity to BDS headquarters, the presence of an established, skilled work force, and the infrastructure at MidAmerica Airport make it an ideal choice as Boeing looks for opportunities to expand our core business and ensure our St. Louis site remains competitive as we meet the high-value, low-cost needs of our customers,? said Muilenburg. Muilenburg was joined by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello (D-Ill.), U.S. Rep. John Shimkus (R-Ill.), and St. Clair County Board Chairman Mark Kern at the official announcement. 

?I?m happy to support Boeing?s investment in America?s work force and the State of Illinois. In this economy, every single job counts, and Boeing?s facility will bring skilled manufacturing jobs that pay wages capable of supporting families,? said Durbin. ?It?s exactly the kind of investment in Illinois we need to spur our nation?s economic recovery.? Home to BDS headquarters, the Boeing St. Louis site employs approximately 16,000 employees and is Missouri?s largest manufacturer and second-largest employer. Key products manufactured at the site include F/A-18s, F-15s, C-17s and weapons.

MidAmerica Airport was created to alleviate some crowding of Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, but has never had service from any major airline and has been criticized as a pork barrel project. Featured several times as a "Fleecing of America" segment on the NBC Nightly News, it was called a "Gateway to Nowhere" by Tom Brokaw, costing taxpayers $313 million. Supporters credit MidAmerica's additional runway with saving Scott AFB from closure during BRAC 2005. They also describe MidAmerica as a "Gateway to the World", citing a new cargo terminal and customs facility designed to attract international cargo.


As of January 2010, one air cargo company uses the airport to import flowers from Colombia, totaling one flight each week, although when it was originally constructed, FedEx seriously considered using it as a central hub for the Midwest, but due to delays in its construction and governmental red tape, they ultimately decided on Memphis instead. Allegiant Airlines also offered flights to both McCarran Airport in Las Vegas and Orlando Sanford International Airport until 2009. MidAmerica's construction has included creation of the 10,000-foot (3,000 m) 14L/32R (east) runway, adding 1,000 feet (300 m) to the existing west runway, adding passenger and cargo terminals on the east side of the facility and a 7,000-foot (2,100 m) taxiway connecting the two runways. A new air traffic control tower staffed by Air Force personnel was also constructed midway between the two runways.

Boeing and St. Clair County are entering into a long-term lease for the existing 50,000-square-foot facility, which is the first Boeing manufacturing center in Illinois. ?We are ecstatic that Boeing has chosen MidAmerica Airport for this expansion. Their presence here brings a much-needed boost to the entire local economy,? said Kern.


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