St. Louis Lambert International Airport

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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
STL is located in the US
Location of airport in Missouri / United States
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 144,207,974
Area (acres) 2,800

St. Louis Lambert International Airport (IATA: STLICAO: KSTLFAA 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 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 US airport classified as medium-sized, it is a focus city for Southwest Airlines, and was a former hub for Trans World Airlines and later for American Airlines.

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.

Post World War II expansion; Ozark Airlines[edit]

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]

Trans World Airlines hub[edit]

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 Concourse B, C & D. 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]

American Airlines hub[edit]

Control tower and main terminal

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 later 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.

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.[32] 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.[33] These cuts ended the remaining hub operation.[34] 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 history[edit]

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.[35]

On April 22, 2011, an EF4 tornado struck the airport's Terminal 1, destroying jetways and breaking more than half of the windows.[36][37] 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.[38] One aircraft, with passengers still aboard, was moved away from its jetway by the storm.[39] The FAA closed the airport on April 22 at 08:54 pm CDT, then reopened it the following day at temporarily lower capacity.[40] Concourse C underwent renovations and repairs, and they were completed and reopened on April 2, 2012.[41]

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.[42]

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".[43] 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.[44]

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".[45]

As of October, 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%.[46]


Concourse C Gates


The airport has two terminals (Terminal 1 & 2) with a total of 5 concourses.

Concourse A is used by Delta Air Lines, United Airlines, Air Canada Express and Xtra Airways (Charter).

Concourse B is currently vacant and is currently only used as a rental event space.

Concourse C houses American Airlines, Alaska Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Cape Air, Air Choice One.

Concourse D was closed in 2008 and is currently vacant, with some of the former gates have been transferred to Concourse E in Terminal 2 as a result of the growth of Southwest Airlines.

Concourse E is the only concourse in Terminal 2 and houses Southwest Airlines as well as all international arrivals. The terminal houses the airports U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility.


St. Louis Lambert International Airport covers 2,800 acres (1,133 ha) and 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

Other facilities[edit]

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.[47]

Airport Terminal Services Inc. maintains several facilities at Lambert and is headquartered in St. Louis.[48]

Cargo Operations[edit]

China cargo hub and Aerotropolis endeavour[edit]

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.[49][50] 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.[51]

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.[52]

In 2011, the "Aerotropolis Tax Credit"[53] 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.[54] 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.[55][56]

In September 2011, the first China Cargo Airlines flight arrived from Shanghai–Pudong.[57] The hub's future was questioned when the airline canceled every subsequent weekly flight in 2011.[58]

In 2013, the airline's lease for cargo space in the airport expired and was not renewed, seemingly ending the partnership.[59] 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.[60]

U.S. - Mexico Dual-Customs Cargo Facility[edit]

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.[61][62]

In 2015, the airport stated it was heavily focused on increasing cargo traffic as part of its 2015 Five-Year Plan.[63] 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.[64]

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.[65]

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.[66] 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.[67][68]

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.[69]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Airlines Destinations References
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson [70]
Air Choice One Burlington (IA), Fort Dodge, Jackson (TN), Jonesboro, Mason City [71]
Alaska Airlines San Diego, Seattle/Tacoma
Seasonal: Portland (OR)
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor
Seasonal: Washington–National
American Eagle Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Miami, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [73]
Apple Vacations Cancún, Montego Bay, Punta Cana
Seasonal: Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo
Cape Air Decatur, Fort Leonard Wood, Kirksville, Marion, Owensboro [75]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City [76]
Delta Connection Cincinnati, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia, Salt Lake City
Seasonal: Orlando
Frontier Airlines Cancún, Denver, 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 (begins April 8, 2018), San Diego, San Francisco, San José (CA) (begins April 8, 2018), Seattle/Tacoma, Tampa, Tulsa, Washington–National, Wichita
Seasonal: Charleston (SC), Orange County, Panama City (FL), Pensacola, West Palm Beach (begins March 10, 2018)
United Airlines Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, San Francisco [79]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington–Dulles [79]
WOW air Reykjavík–Keflavík (begins May 17, 2018) [80]


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


Airline market share[edit]

Busiest airlines serving STL (November 2016 – October 2017)[46]
Airlines   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Southwest Airlines
American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Frontier Airlines
GoJet Airlines

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from STL (November 2016 – October 2017)[46]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 524,680 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
2 Denver, Colorado 398,190 Frontier, Southwest, United
3 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 337,310 American, United
4 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 283,320 American
5 Orlando–MCO, Florida 276,720 Delta, Frontier, Southwest
6 New York–LaGuardia, New York 265,160 American, Delta, Southwest
7 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota 263,560 Delta, Southwest
8 Phoenix, Arizona 261,160 American, Frontier, Southwest
9 Las Vegas, Nevada 241,960 Frontier, Southwest
10 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 239,000 Southwest

Annual traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic, 1985 - Present[4]
Year Total Passengers  % Change
1985 19,942,401 Steady
1986 20,352,383 Increase 2.06%
1987 20,362,606 Increase 0.05%
1988 20,170,060 Decrease 0.95%
1989 20,015,015 Decrease 0.77%
1990 20,065,737 Increase 0.25%
1991 19,151,278 Decrease 4.56%
1992 20,984,782 Increase 9.57%
1993 19,923,774 Decrease 5.06%
1994 23,362,671 Increase 17.26%
1995 25,719,351 Increase 10.09%
1996 27,274,846 Increase 6.05%
1997 27,661,144 Increase 1.42%
1998 28,700,622 Increase 3.76%
1999 30,188,973 Increase 5.19%
2000 30,558,991 Increase 1.23%
2001 26,695,019 Decrease 12.64%
2002 25,626,114 Decrease 4.00%
2003 20,431,132 Decrease 20.27%
2004 13,396,028 Decrease 34.43%
2005 14,697,263 Increase 9.71%
2006 15,205,944 Increase 3.46%
2007 15,384,557 Increase 1.18%
2008 14,431,471 Decrease 6.20%
2009 12,796,302 Decrease 11.33%
2010 12,331,426 Decrease 3.63%
2011 12,526,150 Increase 1.58%
2012 12,688,726 Increase 1.30%
2013 12,570,128 Decrease 0.94%
2014 12,384,015 Decrease 1.48%
2015 12,752,331 Increase 2.97%
2016 13,959,126 Increase 9.46%
2017 14,730,656 Increase 5.5%

Incidents and accidents[edit]

  • 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.[81] The failed component had been manufactured by Robertson subcontractor Gardner Metal Products Company, of St. Louis, who, coincidentally, had been a casket maker.[82]
  • 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.[83]
  • 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.[84]
  • 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.[85]
  • 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.[86]
  • 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."[87]

In popular culture[edit]



Airport Safety[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b FAA Airport Master Record for STL (Form 5010 PDF), retrieved July 24, 2007
  2. ^ "CY2017 Passenger & Operation Statistics" (PDF). St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Retrieved February 8, 2018. 
  3. ^ "Departure Statistics". Lambert–St. Louis International Airport. Retrieved February 5, 2018. 
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