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St. Louis Lambert International Airport

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St. Louis Lambert International Airport (IATA: STL, ICAO: KSTL, FAA LID: STL) is an international airport serving Greater St. Louis, Missouri, United States. It is 14 miles (23 km) northwest of downtown St. Louis in unincorporated St. Louis County between Berkeley and Bridgeton. Commonly named Lambert Field, it is the largest and busiest airport in Missouri with 270 daily departures[3] to over 80 domestic and international locations in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe. In 2017, 14.7 million passengers traveled through the airport.[4] Lambert-St. Louis serves as a hub for Air Choice One, and Cape Air. The largest U.S. airport classified as a medium-sized hub, it is a focus city for Southwest Airlines, and was a former hub for Trans World Airlines and later for American Airlines. Lambert covers 2,800 acres (1,133 ha) of land.[1]

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
St. Louis Lambert International Airport logo.png
Lambert Airport Orthoimagery 2018.png
Airport type Government owned
Owner City of St. Louis
Operator St. Louis City Airport Commission
Serves Greater St. Louis, Missouri
Location Unincorporated St. Louis County 10 miles (16 km) NW of St. Louis
Hub for
Focus city for
Elevation AMSL 605 ft / 184.4 m
Coordinates 38°44′50″N 090°21′41″W / 38.74722°N 90.36139°W / 38.74722; -90.36139Coordinates: 38°44′50″N 090°21′41″W / 38.74722°N 90.36139°W / 38.74722; -90.36139
FAA Airport Diagram
FAA Airport Diagram
STL is located in Missouri
Location of airport in Missouri
STL is located in the US
STL (the US)
Direction Length Surface
ft m
12R/30L 11,019 3,359 Concrete
12L/30R 9,003 2,744 Concrete
11/29 9,000 2,743 Concrete
6/24 7,602 2,317 Concrete
Statistics (2017)
Aircraft operations 196,405
Passenger volume 14,730,656
Cargo tonnage 72,104
Area (acres) 2,800

St. Louis has two commercial airports serving the metro area. St. Louis Lambert International Airport is the primary airport in the St. Louis area, with MidAmerica St. Louis Airport, about 37 miles (59 km) east, serving as a secondary metropolitan commercial airport. The two airports are connected by the city's light rail mass transit Red Line of the St. Louis MetroLink. Both airports are served by commercial passenger airlines.

Named for Albert Bond Lambert, an Olympic medalist and prominent St. Louis aviator, the airport rose to international prominence in the 20th century, thanks to its association with Charles Lindbergh, its groundbreaking air traffic control, its status as the hub of Trans World Airlines and its iconic terminal. Designed by Minoru Yamasaki, the building inspired terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, France.[5]



Aerial view of Naval Air Station St. Louis in the mid-1940s


The airport traces its origins to a balloon launching base, Kinloch Field, part of the 1890s Kinloch Park suburban development. The Wright brothers and their Exhibition Team visited the field while touring with their aircraft. During a visit to St. Louis, Theodore Roosevelt flew with pilot Arch Hoxsey on October 11, 1910, becoming the first U.S. president to fly. Later, Kinloch hosted the first experimental parachute jump.[6]

In June 1920, the Aero Club of St. Louis leased 170 acres of cornfield, the defunct Kinloch Racing Track[7] and the Kinloch Airfield in October 1923, during The International Air Races. The field was officially dedicated as Lambert–St. Louis Flying Field[8] in honor of Albert Bond Lambert, an Olympic silver medalist golfer in the 1904 Summer Games, president of Lambert Pharmaceutical Corporation (which made Listerine),[9] and the first person to receive a pilot's license in St. Louis. In February 1925, "Major" (his 'rank' was given by the Aero Club and not the military) Lambert bought the field and added hangars and a passenger terminal. Charles Lindbergh's first piloting job was flying airmail for Robertson Aircraft Corporation from Lambert Field; he left the airport for New York about a week before his record-breaking flight to Paris in 1927. Later that year, Lambert sold the airport to the City of St. Louis, making it the first municipally-owned airport in the United States.[5]

In the late 1920s, Lambert Field became the first airport with an air traffic control system—albeit one that communicated with pilots via waving flags. The first controller was Archie League.[10]

Robertson Airlines, Marquette Airlines and Eastern Air Lines provided passenger service to St. Louis.

In 1925, the airport became home to Naval Air Station St. Louis, a Naval Air Reserve facility that became an active-duty installation during World War II.[11]

During the war, the airport became a manufacturing base for McDonnell Aircraft and Curtiss-Wright.

1945–1982: Post World War II expansion; Ozark AirlinesEdit

After the war, NAS St. Louis reverted to a reserve installation, supporting carrier-based fighters and land-based patrol aircraft. When it closed in 1958, most of its facilities were acquired by the Missouri Air National Guard and became Lambert Field Air National Guard Base. Some other facilities were retained by non-flying activities of the Naval Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve, while the rest was redeveloped to expand commercial airline operations at the airport.[11]

To handle the increasing passenger traffic, Minoru Yamasaki was commissioned to design a new terminal at Lambert. Commissioned in 1951 and completed in 1956, the three-domed design preceded terminals at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Paris–Charles de Gaulle Airport.[5] A fourth dome was added in 1965.

The April 1957 Official Airline Guide shows TWA with 44 weekday departures; American, 24; Delta, 16; Ozark, 14; Eastern, 13; Braniff, six and Central, two. The first jets were TWA 707s in July 1959.[12]

In the 1970s St. Louis city officials proposed to replace the airport with a new one in suburban Illinois. After Missouri residents objected in 1977, Lambert received a $290-million expansion that lengthened the runways, increased the number of gates to 81, and boosted its capacity by 50 percent. (A proposed Illinois airport was later built, though not near the originally proposed site; MidAmerica St. Louis Airport opened in 1997 in Mascoutah, Illinois. As of 2015 the only scheduled passenger service is nonstop flights operated by Allegiant Air.[13]) Concourse A and Concourse C were rebuilt into bi-level structures equipped with jet bridges as part of a $25 million project in the mid-1970s designed by Sverdrup. The other concourses were demolished. Construction began in the spring of 1976 and was completed in September 1977.[14] A $20 million, 120,000-square-foot (11,000 m2) extension of Concourse C for TWA and a $46 million, 210,000-square-foot (20,000 m2) Concourse D for Ozark Airlines also designed by Sverdrup were completed in December 1982.[15][16]

Ozark Airlines established its only hub at Lambert in the late 1950s. The airline grew rapidly, going from 36 million revenue passenger miles in 1955, to 229 million revenue passenger miles in 1965. The jet age came to Ozark in 1966 with the Douglas DC-9-10 and its network expanded to Denver, Indianapolis, Louisville, Washington, D.C., New York City, Miami, Tampa and Orlando. With the addition of jets, Ozark began its fastest period of growth, jumping to 653 million revenue passenger miles by 1970 and 936 million revenue passenger miles by 1975;[17] Ozark soon faced heavy competition in TWA's new hub at Lambert, however.

By 1979, the year after airline deregulation, STL's dominant carriers were TWA (36 routes) and Ozark (25), followed by American (17) and Eastern (12). Other carriers at STL around this time included Air Illinois, Air Indiana, Braniff, Britt, Brower, Delta, Frontier, Northwest Orient, Republic, Texas International, Trans-Mo and USAir.[18]

1982–2001: Trans World Airlines hubEdit

After airline deregulation in 1978, airlines began to realign their operations around a hub and spoke model. Trans World Airlines (TWA) was headquartered in New York City but its main base of employment was at Kansas City International Airport and had large operations at Chicago O'Hare International Airport as well as St. Louis. TWA deemed Kansas City terminals as unsuitable to serve as a primary hub. TWA reluctantly ruled out Chicago, as its Chicago operation was already losing $25 million a year under competition from American Airlines and United Airlines. This meant that St. Louis was the carrier's only viable option. TWA proceeded to downsize Chicago and build up St. Louis, swapping three Chicago gates for five of American's St. Louis gates. By December 1982, St. Louis accounted for 20% of TWA's domestic capacity. Lambert's terminal was initially too small for this operation, and TWA was forced to use temporary terminals, mobile lounges and airstairs to handle the additional flights.[19] After Concourse D was completed in 1985, TWA began transatlantic service from Lambert to London, Frankfurt and Paris.[20]

TWA's hub grew again in 1986 when the airline bought Ozark Airlines, which operated its hub from Lambert's B, C, and D concourses. In 1985, TWA had accounted for 56.6% of boardings at STL while Ozark accounted for 26.3%, so the merged carriers controlled over 80% of the traffic.[21] As of 1986, TWA served STL with nonstop service to 84 cities, an increase from 80 cities served by TWA and/or Ozark in 1985, before the merger.

Despite the entry of Southwest Airlines in the market in 1985, the TWA buyout of Ozark and subsequent increase in the nonstop cities served, the number of passengers using Lambert held steady from 1985 through 1993, ranging between 19 million and 20 million passengers per year throughout the period.

Lambert again grew in importance for TWA after the airline declared bankruptcy in 1993 and moved its headquarters to St. Louis from Mount Kisco, NY. TWA increased the number of cities served and started routing more connecting passengers through its hub at Lambert. Total number of passengers using Lambert rose from 19.9 million passengers enplaned in 1993, jumping almost 20% in one year to 23.4 million in 1994. Growth continued, with total enplaned jumping to 27.3 million by 1997 and 30.6 million in 2000, the largest in its history.[22]

By the late 1990s, Lambert was TWA's dominant hub, with 515 daily flights to 104 cities as of September 1999. Of those 515 flights, 352 were on TWA mainline aircraft and 163 were Trans World Express flights operated by its commuter airline partners. During this period, Lambert Field was ranked as the eighth-busiest U.S. airport by flights (not by total passengers), largely due to TWA's hub operations, Southwest Airlines' growing traffic, and commuter traffic to smaller cities in the region. Congestion caused delays during peak hours and was exacerbated when bad weather reduced the number of usable runways from three to one. To cope, Lambert officials briefly redesignated the taxiway immediately north of runway 12L–30R as runway 13–31 and used it for commuter and general aviation traffic. Traffic projections made in the 1980s and 1990s predicted yet more growth, however, enough to strain the airport and the national air traffic system.[23]

These factors led to the planning and construction of a 9,000-foot runway, dubbed Runway 11/29, parallel to the two larger existing runways. At $1.1 billion, it was the costliest public works program in St. Louis history.[24] It required moving seven major roads and destroying about 2,000 homes, six churches, and four schools in Bridgeton, Missouri.[24][25][26] Construction began in 1998 and continued even as traffic at the airport declined after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent flight reductions.[27][28]

2001–2009: American Airlines hubEdit

Control tower and Terminal 1

As TWA entered the new millennium, its financial condition proved too precarious to continue alone and in January 2001, American Airlines announced it was buying TWA, which was completed in April of that year. The last TWA flight was flown on December 1, 2001 to TWA's original and historic hometown of Kansas City. The plan for Lambert was to become a reliever hub for the American hubs at Chicago–O'Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth. American was looking at something strategic with its new St. Louis hub to potentially offload some of the pressure on O'Hare to restore its operations to respectable levels.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks were a huge demand shock to air service nationwide, with total airline industry domestic revenue passenger miles dropping 20% in October 2001 and 17% in November 2001.[29] Overnight, American no longer had the same need for a hub that bypassed its hubs at Chicago and Dallas, which suddenly became less congested.[30] As a result of this and the ongoing economic recession, service at Lambert was subsequently reduced over the course of the next few years; to 207 flights by November 2003.[31] Total passenger traffic dropped to 20.4 million that same year.[4] On the international front, flights to Paris went to seasonal in December 2001 and transatlantic service was soon discontinued altogether when American dropped flights to London in 2003. Transatlantic service resumed in May 2018, when WOW air began offering four weekly flights to Reykjavik, Iceland.[32]

In 2006, the United States Air Force announced plans to turn the 131st Fighter Wing of the Missouri Air National Guard into the 131st Bomb Wing. The wing's 20 F-15C and F-15D aircraft were moved to the Montana Air National Guard's 120th Fighter Wing at Great Falls International Airport/Air National Guard Base, Montana and the Hawaii Air National Guard's 154th Wing at Hickam AFB, Hawaii. The pilots and maintainers moved to Whiteman AFB, Missouri to fly and maintain the B-2 Spirit stealth bomber as the first Air National Guard wing to fly the aircraft. Lambert Field Air National Guard Base formally shut down in June 2009 when the final two F-15C Eagles did a low approach over the field and then flew away, ending an 85-year chapter of Lambert's history.

In 2008, Lambert's position as an American Airlines hub faced further pressure due to increased fuel costs and softened demand because of a depressed economy. American cut its overall system capacity by 5% during 2008. At Lambert, American shifted more flights from mainline to regional.[33] Total passengers enplaned fell 6% to 14.4 million in 2008, then fell another 11% to 12.8 million passengers in 2009.[4]

In September 2009, American Airlines announced that as a part of the airline's restructuring, it would eliminate its St. Louis hub by reducing its operations from approximately 200 daily flights to 36 daily flights to nine destinations in the summer of 2010.[34] These cuts ended the remaining hub operation.[35] American's announcement that its St. Louis hub would close was part of its new "Cornerstone" plan where the airline would be concentrating on its 4 primary hubs in major markets: Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami and New York, with a focus city in Los Angeles.

Recent historyEdit

Terminal 1 windows boarded up after the 2011 tornado

In early October 2009, Southwest Airlines announced the addition of 6 daily flights to several cities it already served from St. Louis, as an immediate response to the cutbacks announced by American Airlines. Then on October 21, 2009, Southwest announced that the airline will increase service with a "major expansion" in St. Louis by May 2010. The airline announced it would begin flying nonstop from St. Louis to 6 new cities, for a new total of 31 destinations, increasing the number of daily departures from 74 to 83, also replacing American as the carrier with the most daily flights after American's service cuts scheduled for Summer 2010.[36]

At about 8:10 p.m. on April 22, 2011, an EF4[37] tornado struck the airport's Terminal 1, destroying jetways and breaking more than half of the windows.[38][38][39][40] One plane from Southwest Airlines was damaged when the wind pushed a baggage conveyor belt into it. Four American Airlines planes were damaged, including one that was buffeted by 80 mph crosswinds while taxiing after landing.[41] Another aircraft, with passengers still aboard, was moved away from its jetway by the storm.[42] The FAA closed the airport at 08:54 pm CDT, then reopened it the following day at temporarily lower capacity.[43] The damage to Concourse C even forced several airlines to use vacant gates in the B and D concourses.[44] The TSA would later declare Lambert Airport its "Airport of the Year" for "exceptional courtesy, high-quality security" and the excellent response by airport officials during and after the tornado.[45] In the meantime, the tornado and subsequent damage to the terminal facilities accelerated the timeline for the "Airport Experience Program", a large-scale renovation of the interior spaces of Terminal 1 and its concourses.[46] Concourse C underwent renovations and repairs and finally reopened on April 2, 2012.[44]

In May 2013, Moody's raised its rating on Lambert Airport's bonds to A3 with a stable outlook from Baa1 with a stable outlook. Standard & Poor's (S&P) raised its rating to A- with a stable outlook from A- with a negative outlook. This is the first time in more than a decade that both Moody's and Standard & Poor's ratings for the Airport have both been in the single "A" category. Earlier in the month, Fitch Ratings upgraded outstanding airport revenue bonds to 'BBB+' from 'BBB' with a stable outlook. The rating agencies attributed the upgrades to strong fiscal management and positive passenger traffic.[47]

In January 2016, the airport completed renovations of Terminal 1.

In late 2016, the City of St. Louis announced it would either keep the name Lambert-St. Louis International Airport or change it to St. Louis International Airport at Lambert Field.[48]

Following some controversy regarding the proposed new name with descendants of Albert Bond Lambert, the proposal was amended, and the St. Louis Airport Commission voted unanimously to change the name of the airport to St. Louis Lambert International Airport on September 7, 2016.[49][50] The proposal thereafter gained the approval of the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

On October 14, 2016, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the name change, and on October 25, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay signed the bill approving the name change.[51] After going through the formal process to submit the name change to the Federal Aviation Administration, the airport debuted new branding and a completely redesigned website on February 14, 2017.[52]

In May 2017, Moody's again raised its rating of Lambert's bonds and debt to A3 with a positive outlook from A3 with a stable outlook, primarily due to continued growth in enplanements, declining debt, and no major capital expenditures. By the same token, S&P issued an A- long-term rating with a positive outlook, up from A- with a stable outlook, citing "favorably declining debt levels and strong liquidity [as well as] stable passenger enplanement levels and a good competitive position that supports a good base of air travel demand".[53] Later in the year, Fitch also raised their bond outlook to A- with a stable outlook from BBB+ with a positive outlook, citing many of the same reasons as the other two agencies.[54]

An August 21, 2017 FAA Press Release announced that Lambert was one of 67 airports selected to receive infrastructure grants from the U.S. DOT. The airport was granted $7.1 million for "Realignment and Reconstruction of Taxiway Kilo; Reconstruction of Taxiway Sierra from Taxiway Echo to Runway 12R-30L; Widening of Taxiway Kilo Fillet from Runway 12R-30L to Taxiway Delta; and Rehabilitation and Reconstruction of Runway 12L-30R Outer Panels and Replacement of Electrical Circuits".[55]

As of December, 2017, Southwest Airlines is the dominant carrier at Lambert, accounting for just over 58% of passengers over the previous 12-month time period. American Airlines is a solid second, at just under 12%, while Delta Air Lines is third at slightly under 9%.[56]


Control TowerEdit

The airport's current ~156-foot (~47.6-meter) control tower opened in 1997 at a cost of approximately $15,000,000.[57][58]


The airport has four runways:[1]

  • Runway 12R/30L: 11,019 x 200 ft (3,359 x 61 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 12L/30R: 9,003 x 150 ft (2,744 x 46 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 11/29: 9,000 x 150 ft (2,743 x 46 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 6/24: 7,602 x 150 ft (2,317 x 46 m), Surface: Concrete


The airport has two terminals with a total of 5 concourses. International flights and passengers use Terminal 2, whose lower level holds the customs facilities. Passengers can move between the terminals on complimentary buses that run continuously or via MetroLink for a fee. It was possible to walk between the terminals via Concourse D until the connection was blocked in 2008 with the closure of Concourse D; this connection may reopen as more shuttered D gates are reactivated.[59]

Terminal 1Edit

Concourse C Gates
STL Terminal Layout

The iconic Terminal 1 opened in 1956 along with several single story concourses (including what would later become the current Concourses A and C). The terminal itself would be expanded in the 1960s, while Concourses A and C were rebuilt as two story buildings with jetbridges in the early 1970s. Expansion by both Ozark Airlines and TWA forced the construction of Concourse D in the early 1980s. Up until its demise and subsequent takeover by American Airlines, TWA operated an enormous domestic hub out of Terminal 1 Concourses B, C, and D. Following a 2011 tornado that struck the airport, Lambert initiated a five-year-long renovation of Terminal 1 and its concourses. The recently-renovated American Airlines Admirals Club at the B/C/D connector is large for its type, with seats for 244, and contains many of the same amenities found in lounges at more prominent airports.[60][61] Lambert's USO facility, on the lower level of the terminal, is one of the largest in the country. It is open 24 hours a day and serves more than 120,000 military men and women each year.[62]

  • Concourse A: Gates A2–A4, A5*, A6, A7*, A8–A10, A12, A14–A19, A21
    • Users: Delta, United, Air Canada Express, Xtra Airways (Charter)
    • * Doors for these gates exist, but the waiting areas have been indefinitely configured as vendor space.
    • A12 is currently vacant and lacks a jetway.
  • Concourse B: Gates B2, B3*, B4, B6, B7, B8, B10, B12, B14, B16
    • Vacant. Currently only used as a rental event space.
    • * May no longer be accessible due to its location adjacent to the current control tower.
  • Concourse C: Gates C1–C3, C5–C10, C12, C15–C19, C21, C23, C24, C27, C28 (Gates C29–C36 and C38 are currently closed)
    • Users: American, Alaska, Frontier, Cape Air, Air Choice One
    • International Departing Flights on scheduled and charter flights depart from both Concourse A and Concourse C in Terminal 1. All arriving International Flights are processed in Terminal 2 (Concourse E).
    • Note: Gates C29 and C30 are in the process of being reopened.[63]
    • Note: The far end of Concourse C contains a first-level U.S. Customs facility that has remained unused since the early 2000s.[64]
  • Concourse D: Gates D2, D4, D6, D8, D10, D12, D14, D16, D18, D20, D22, D24, D26
    • Vacant.
    • In 2016, Concourse D Gates D32, D34, D36, D38, and D40 were renamed and moved into Terminal 2 as Concourse E gates to accommodate the continued growth of Southwest at Lambert.
    • Note: Gates D12–D34 were closed as a cost-saving measure in December 2008.[65] These gates may become active in the future with the growth of Concourse E.

Terminal 2Edit

Airside interior of Terminal 2
Ticketing hall of Terminal 2

Terminal 2 opened in 1998 and was built in order to accommodate the growing presence of Southwest in the St. Louis market. Upon opening, it encompassed a single concourse, E, and 15 gates. As Southwest has continued to expand in St. Louis, former unused gates in the D concourse have been renovated and renamed as E gates. Of the 18 active gates, one (E40) does not have a jetway and is not currently used for scheduled services, while E29 is a city-owned common-use international arrival gate.[66] In January 2018, a new common-use lounge, operated by Wingtips, opened near gate E31. This lounge is the first in Terminal 2 and the only common-use club in the airport.[67]

  • Concourse E: Gates E2*, E4, E6, E8, E10, E12, E14, E16, E18, E20, E22, E24, E29, E31, E33, E34, E36, E38, E40
    • Note: Concourse E and Terminal 2 are used entirely for Southwest Airlines and international operations. WOW air operates out of E29.
    • Note: Concourse E Gates E29, E31, E33 are secured International Airline Arrival Gates and connect to the airport's only currently-operating U.S. Customs facility.
    • * Gate E2 is no longer used as of April 2004.

Aircraft productionEdit

Lambert's runways have long been used for test flights and deliveries of military aircraft by McDonnell Douglas, which built its world headquarters and principal assembly plant next to the airport, and now by Boeing, which bought McDonnell and currently uses its St. Louis facilities as headquarters for its Defense, Space & Security division. The plant currently builds the F-15 Strike Eagle, F/A-18 Super Hornet, and EA-18 Growler. It is also home to Boeing Phantom Works.[citation needed]

In more recent developments, the first two prototypes of the Boeing T-X trainer, Boeing and Saab Group's joint entry for the T-X program to replace the aging Northrop T-38 Talon, were constructed at Boeing's Lambert facilities. The first prototype underwent its first test flight in December 2016.[68] On May 15, 2017, Boeing announced that St. Louis would be the assembly location for the T-X should they win the USAF contract.[69] Moreover, there is a likelihood that should Boeing's MQ-25 carrier-based refueling drone be selected for purchase by the United States Navy, it would be built at Boeing's St. Louis facilities.[70]

Other facilitiesEdit

Ozark Air Lines had its corporate headquarters on airport property before it was purchased by TWA. The building is now headquarters for Trans States Holdings.[71]

Airport Terminal Services Inc. maintains several facilities at Lambert and is headquartered in St. Louis.[72]

Cargo OperationsEdit

China cargo hub and Aerotropolis endeavourEdit

In 2008, China Cargo Airlines (a subsidiary of China Eastern Airlines) was reported to be considering a cargo hub at Lambert as part of its international cargo and passenger service expansion.[73][74] Lambert was considered an attractive option as runway 11/29 would accommodate the large cargo aircraft, and the decline in passenger service during the first decade of the 2000s meant less congestion than busier airports such as Chicago O'Hare International Airport.[75]

Negotiations led to the 2009 creation of the public-private Midwest-China Hub Commission to develop an implementation plan. Planners for the cargo hub envisioned St. Louis as an Aerotropolis, an urban form whose layout, infrastructure and economy is centered on an airport, offering its businesses speedy connectivity to suppliers, customers, and enterprise partners worldwide. Negotiations between the Chinese ambassador Zhou Wenzhong, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing, Missouri Senators Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill and business leaders from the St. Louis region continued over the next two years. The United States Department of Commerce allowed expansion of the foreign trade zone near Lambert airport on February 13, 2009.[76]

In 2011, the "Aerotropolis Tax Credit"[77] was introduced into the Missouri Senate. The bill provided $360 million of tax incentives to freight forwarders and for the development of warehouses, cold storage facilities and transportation connections in so-called "Gateway Zones," foreign trade zones located within 50 miles of St. Louis.[78] The bill was debated in a special session during September 2011 but ultimately failed to gain enough support. The future of the tax credit remains uncertain.[79][80]

In September 2011, the first China Cargo Airlines flight arrived from Shanghai–Pudong.[81] The hub's future was questioned when the airline canceled every subsequent weekly flight in 2011.[82]

In 2013, the airline's lease for cargo space in the airport expired and was not renewed, seemingly ending the partnership.[83] In total, only two flights took place in 2011, and all flights thereafter were suspended due to the failed Aerotropolis legislation and weak air freight demand around the world during that period.[84]

U.S. - Mexico Dual-Customs Cargo FacilityEdit

In 2013, a Texas company, Brownsville International Air Cargo Inc., expressed interest in building a dual-customs cargo facility on the site of the old McDonnell-Douglas complex on the north end of Lambert, citing excess airport capacity and a central U.S. location as conducive to a cargo operation. The idea was positively received by St. Louis and airport officials and won local approval, culminating in a three-year agreement to prepare studies and applications for the facility in late 2014. This dual-customs facility would permit pre-clearance of cargo bound for Mexico as well as U.S. Customs inspection of cargo imported from Mexico.[85][86]

In 2015, the airport stated it was heavily focused on increasing cargo traffic as part of its 2015 Five-Year Plan.[87] To this end, the airport supported an extendable 20-year lease on 49 acres of airport land in order for it to be redeveloped into a large international air-cargo facility in three phases over 18 months. This lease was signed with Bi-National Gateway Terminal LLC and owner Ricardo Nicolopulos, who also owns Brownsville International Air Cargo Inc., and would incorporate the proposed dual-customs facility into the final design of the air-cargo facility, pending its approval by the Mexican government. Nicolopulos stated that Bi-National would invest $77 million into the first phase of the project, which would cover 32 acres and include a new international air-cargo terminal, and would not require extra funding from the airport. He reiterated his interest in and support of developing cargo operations in St. Louis, stating his belief that St. Louis could become a viable cargo competitor to Miami. The airport stands to receive at least $13.5 million in revenue from the facility over the initial 20-year lease.[88]

In January, 2017, the Bi-National cargo facility was included on a list of important national infrastructure projects compiled by President Donald Trump's administration. The report stated overall construction costs of $1.8 billion and claimed that the facility could create 1,800 'direct' jobs.[89]

As of August, 2017, no construction on the cargo facility has occurred; Bi-National has, however, filed a Brownfield Grant application with the state of Missouri in order to receive financial assistance for environmental cleanup of the site, and has also filed a Tenant Construction Application with the airport.[90] Furthermore, Lambert airport has begun to undertake infrastructure improvements in order to better accommodate future shipping needs. The first of these, already in progress, is a rebuilding of Taxiway V and the taxiway's entrance to the "Northern Tract" of Lambert, providing common-use access to the Trans States Airlines ramp, the Airport Terminal Services ramp, and the Bi-National Air Cargo ramp. The rebuilt taxiway will be able to accommodate the largest cargo planes, up to and including the 747-8F. The taxiway will cost approximately $6.1 million, funded via a grant from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Other projects include the reconstruction of several roads leading to the airport to better facilitate heavy truck traffic and an extension of the Class 1 rail line adjacent to the airport to provide immediate train access from the Northern Tract cargo facilities. The overall projected cost for these near-term improvements is $20.7 million.[91][92]

In October, 2017 the Ambassador of Mexico visited to discuss trade between St. Louis and Mexico. Also beginning in October was the aforementioned environmental cleanup of the cargo facility site.[93]

Airlines and destinationsEdit


Airlines Destinations References
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson [94]
Air Choice One Burlington (IA), Fort Dodge, Jackson (TN), Jonesboro [95]
Alaska Airlines San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma [96]
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [97]
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [97]
Apple Vacations Cancún, Montego Bay, Punta Cana
Seasonal: Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo
Cape Air Decatur, Fort Leonard Wood, Kirksville, Marion, Owensboro [99]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City [100]
Delta Connection Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Orlando
Frontier Airlines Cancún, Denver, Jacksonville (begins August 12, 2018),[101] Las Vegas, Orlando
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Tampa
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Boston, Cancún, Chicago–Midway, Cleveland, Columbus–Glenn, Dallas–Love, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Hartford (begins August 7, 2018), Houston–Hobby, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Nashville, New Orleans, New York–LaGuardia, Newark, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Orlando, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Portland (OR), Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tulsa, Washington–National, Wichita
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Orange County, Panama City (FL), Pensacola, West Palm Beach
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, San Francisco [104]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles [104]
WOW air Reykjavík–Keflavík [32]


Airlines Destinations References
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Omaha [citation needed]
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Memphis [citation needed]
UPS Airlines Louisville, Boise [citation needed]


Passenger and Operational StatisticsEdit

Airline market shareEdit

Busiest airlines serving STL (March 2017 – February 2018)[56]
Airlines   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Southwest Airlines
American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Frontier Airlines
GoJet Airlines

Top destinationsEdit

Busiest domestic routes from STL (March 2017 – February 2018)[56]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 526,070 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
2 Denver, Colorado 401,640 Frontier, Southwest, United
3 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 332,900 American, United
4 Orlando–MCO, Florida 285,500 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
5 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 279,340 American
6 New York–LaGuardia, New York 269,760 American, Delta, Southwest
7 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 267,510 Delta, Southwest
8 Phoenix, Arizona 251,420 American, Frontier, Southwest
9 Las Vegas, Nevada 244,540 Frontier, Southwest
10 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 240,170 Southwest

Annual trafficEdit

Annual passenger traffic, 1985–Present; Annual commercial airplane movements, 1990–Present[105][4][106][107]
Year Total Passengers % Change Aircraft Movements % Change Notes
1985 19,942,401       Concourse D completed. Southwest enters market.
1986 20,352,383   2.06%     TWA acquires Ozark Airlines and its St. Louis hub.
1987 20,362,606   0.05%    
1988 20,170,060   0.95%    
1989 20,015,015   0.77%    
1990 20,065,737   0.25% 391,534  
1991 19,151,278   4.56% 367,960   6.02%
1992 20,984,782   9.57% 382,337   3.91%
1993 19,923,774   5.06% 398,750   4.29%
1994 23,362,671   17.26% 433,737   8.77%
1995 25,719,351   10.09% 474,414   9.38%
1996 27,274,846   6.05% 474,929   0.11%
1997 27,661,144   1.42% 484,288   1.97%
1998 28,700,622   3.76% 471,481   2.64% Work begins on the W-1W airport expansion. East Terminal (Terminal 2) opens.
1999 30,188,973   5.19% 474,166   0.57%
2000 30,558,991   1.23% 456,827   3.66%
2001 26,695,019   12.64% 452,866   0.87% American Airlines acquires TWA and its St. Louis hub.
2002 25,626,114   4.00% 420,904   7.06% American begins to downsize the hub following 9/11.
2003 20,431,132   20.27% 312,439   25.77%
2004 13,396,028   34.43% 266,898   14.58%
2005 14,697,263   9.71% 268,801   0.71%
2006 15,205,944   3.46% 244,328   9.10% W-1W is completed with the opening of Runway 11/29.
2007 15,384,557   1.18% 235,100   3.78%
2008 14,431,471   6.20% 234,834   0.11%
2009 12,796,302   11.33% 199,202   15.17% Southwest announces major service increases.
2010 12,331,426   3.63% 160,633   19.36% American Airlines closes the St. Louis hub.
2011 12,526,150   1.58% 179,074   11.48% The airport is hit by an EF4 tornado. Airport renovations begin.
2012 12,688,726   1.30% 181,315   1.25%
2013 12,570,128   0.94% 178,303   1.66%
2014 12,384,015   1.48% 174,146   2.33%
2015 12,752,331   2.97% 175,865   0.99%
2016 13,959,126   9.46% 180,451   2.61% Airport modernization and renovation projects completed.
2017 14,730,656   5.53% 187,032   3.65%
2018 3,393,841 (Through March)   4.2% 45,893 (Through March)   1.4%

Cargo StatisticsEdit

Annual cargo tonnage, 2015–Present[108][109][110]
Year Tonnage % Change Notes
2015 62,841  
2016 70,428   12.1%
2017 72,104   2.4%
2018 17,123 (Through March)   0.1%

Based AircraftEdit

There are 18 aircraft based at STL as of June 30, 2017.[111][112]

Single-Engine Multi-Engine Jet Helicopters Gliders Military Ultra-Light
1 7 10 0 0 0 0

Art and historical piecesEdit

Black Americans in Flight muralEdit

Black Americans in Flight is a mural that depicts African American aviators and their contributions to aviation since 1917. It is located in Terminal 1 / Main Terminal on the lower level near the entrance to gates C and D and baggage claim. The mural consists of five panels and measures 8 feet tall and 51 feet long. The first panel includes Albert Edward Forsythe and C. Alfred Anderson, the first black pilots to complete a cross-country flight, the Tuskegee Institute and the Tuskegee Airmen, Eugene Bullard, Bessie Coleman and Willa Brown (first African American woman commercial pilot in United States). The second panel shows Benjamin O. Davis Jr., Clarence "Lucky" Lester and Joseph Ellesberry. The third panel shows Gen. Daniel "Chappie" James, Capt. Ronald Radliff and Capt. Marcella Hayes. The fourth and fifth panels show Ronald McNair, who died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster in 1986, Guion Bluford, who in 1983 became the first African American in space, and Mae Jemison, the first African America woman in space. Spencer Taylor and Solomon Thurman created the mural in 1990.[113][114] The mural had a re-dedication ceremony in 2012.

Aircraft on displayEdit

The Monocoupe 110 Special in Terminal 2

Two aircraft from the Missouri History Museum hang from Lambert's ceilings. The first is a 1934 Monocoupe D-145 near the Terminal 1 security checkpoint. Charles Lindbergh bought it in 1934 from the Lambert Aircraft Corporation and flew it as his personal plane. The second aircraft, a red Monocoupe 110 Special, manufactured in St. Louis in 1931, hangs in Terminal 2.[115] Until 1998, a Ryan B-1 Brougham, a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, hung next to the D-145.[116]


21st-century renovationEdit

Terminal 1 departures hall, before the 2011 tornado damage and subsequent remodel
Terminal 1 departures hall in 2017 after renovation

In February 2007, airport officials announced the largest renovation in the airport's history: a $70 million effort to overhaul the Main Terminal called "The Airport Experience Project." It was set back slightly by the 2011 tornado damage, but as of January 2016 is now complete.[citation needed]

  • The domed ceiling has been completely restored with a new acoustic coating and a programmable LED lighting system.[117]
  • A faster, quieter baggage carousel system has been installed.[117]
  • The Main and East terminals were renamed Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 and signs throughout the airport were redone to reflect the change and improve wayfinding.[118]
  • Eight restaurants and food vendors were added to the terminal.[119] In December 2011, the renovation of the A concourse was completed with new bathrooms, flooring, lighting, and gate signs.
  • Reconstructed security checkpoints to be more integrated and include new screening technology.[120]
  • Terrazzo floors were installed throughout the terminal.
  • Art glass screens, designed by St. Louis-area artists, were installed throughout the terminal.[117]
  • A dedicated performance area, dubbed "St. Louis Stage," was added.[121]
  • Restrooms throughout the terminal were renovated; new restrooms were added to the baggage area.[122]
  • Entrances to the lower level of Terminal 1 were redesigned.[123]

Ground transportationEdit

Mass transit/light rail/subwayEdit

MetroLink station at Terminal 1

The airport is connected to MetroLink's Red Line via a station at both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. MetroLink lines provide direct or indirect service to downtown St. Louis, the Clayton area and Illinois suburbs in St. Clair County.


Two MetroBus lines serve the Lambert Bus Port, which is located next to the intermediate parking lot and is accessible via a tunnel from Terminal 1.


The airport is served by I-70; eastbound leads to downtown St. Louis and Illinois with a north/south connection at I-170 immediately east of the airport, while westbound leads to several exurbs of St. Louis in St. Charles County with a north/south connection at I-270 immediately west of the airport.

Incidents and accidentsEdit

  • On August 5, 1936, Chicago and Southern Flight 4, a Lockheed 10 Electra headed for Chicago, crashed after takeoff killing all 8 passengers and crew. The pilot became disoriented in fog.
  • On August 1, 1943, during a demonstration flight of an "all St. Louis-built glider", a WACO CG-4A-RO, 42-78839, built by sub-contractor Robertson Aircraft Company, loses its starboard wing due to a defective wing strut support, plummets vertically to the ground at Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri, killing all on board, including St. Louis Mayor William D. Becker, Maj. William B. Robertson and Harold Krueger, both of Robertson Aircraft, Thomas Dysart, president of the St. Louis Chamber of Commerce, Max Doyne, director of public utilities, Charles Cunningham, department comptroller, Henry Mueller, St. Louis Court presiding judge, Lt. Col. Paul Hazleton, pilot Capt. Milton C. Klugh, and co-pilot/mechanic PFC Jack W. Davis, of the USAAF 71st Troop Carrier Squadron.[124] The failed component had been manufactured by Robertson subcontractor Gardner Metal Products Company, of St. Louis, who, coincidentally, had been a casket maker.[125]
  • On February 28, 1966, astronauts Elliot See and Charles Bassett – the original crew of the Gemini 9 mission – were killed in the crash of their T-38 trainer while attempting to land at Lambert Field in bad weather. The plane crashed into the same McDonnell Aircraft building (adjacent to the airport) where their spacecraft was being assembled.[126]
  • Ozark Air Lines Flight 809 – Ozark Air Lines Flight 809 was a regularly scheduled flight from Nashville, Tennessee, to St. Louis, Missouri, with four intermediate stops. On July 23, 1973, while on the approach to land at St. Louis International Airport, it crashed near the University of Missouri – St. Louis, killing 38 of the 44 persons aboard. Windshear was cited as the cause. A tornado had been reported at Ladue, Missouri about the time of the accident but the National Weather Service did not confirm that there was a tornado.[127]
  • On January 9, 1984, Douglas C-47B C-GSCA of Skycraft Air Transport crashed on take-off, killing one of its two crew members. The aircraft was on an international cargo flight to Toronto Pearson International Airport, Canada. Both engines lost power shortly after take-off. The aircraft had been fueled with JET-A instead of 100LL.[128]
  • On April 2, 1989, Joseph Rutherford Jr., a passenger bound for Sioux City, died after suffering fatal head and neck injuries when he was crushed by an airport trash compactor in Concourse D. Rutherford, reported to be highly intoxicated after drinking during his connecting flight from Memphis, stole a parked electric cart upon entering the concourse and began to drive it. Stopping the cart after a short distance, Rutherford attempted to hide from pursuers inside a maintenance room containing a trash compactor. Airport police eventually found that he had slid down an 18-inch aluminum chute into the trash compactor, which went into operation after his body triggered an electric eye while passing through the chute.[129]
  • On November 22, 1994, TWA Flight 427 collided with a Cessna 441, N441KM, at the intersection of runway 30R and taxiway Romeo. The MD-82 was taking off for Denver and had accelerated through 80 knots when the collision occurred. The MD-82 sustained substantial damage during the collision. The Cessna 441, operated by Superior Aviation, was destroyed. The pilot and the passenger were killed. PROBABLE CAUSE: "The Cessna 441 pilot’s mistaken belief that his assigned departure runway was runway 30R, which resulted in his undetected entrance onto runway 30R, which was being used by the MD-82 for its departure. Contributing to the accident was the lack of Automatic Terminal Information Service and other air traffic control (ATC) information regarding the occasional use of runway 31 for departure. The installation and utilization of Airport Surface Detection Equipment (ASDE-3) and particularly ASDE-3 enhanced with the Airport Movement Area Safety System (AMASS), could have prevented this accident."[130]

In popular cultureEdit



Airport SafetyEdit

See alsoEdit


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73. McCalpin, Brian (September 28, 2012). Website:

External linksEdit