“We’ll have great support for this new service because it was our own business community and top business travel managers that lobbied us and helped us make the case with Southwest to add service to Orange County,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “We already have more than 100 people a day who make connections to John Wayne Airport. Now they will have the convenience of flying non-stop.”
Orange County was one of Lambert’s top targets for new service based on current passenger demand from St. Louis. Lambert already landed two other destinations on its priority list this year with new daily service to Austin, Texas and Portland, Oregon. Southwest begins Austin (AUS) service on June 28. Alaska Airlines begins Portland (PDX) service on July 1. Air Choice One will also begin new service to Jackson, Tennessee (MKL) on June 22.
That gives Lambert three new destinations beginning in the peak summer travel season, which officially gets underway with the Memorial Day holiday. Lambert’s nine passenger airlines will offer non-stop service to 63 destinations this summer, with approximately 250 daily departures. Southwest is Lambert’s market leader. It will account for more than 90 flights per day to 37 destinations after it begins its Austin service in June. American Airlines, now operating US Airways, is Lambert’s second largest carrier, followed by Delta Air Lines.
The commission approved a 20-year lease with two, 10-year extension options with Bi-National Gateway Terminal LLC for 48.75 acres of St. Louis City-owned property and facilities that were acquired in 2005 from The Boeing Company. The site holds the original McDonnell Douglas manufacturing complex, which has been vacant for more than a decade. A portion of facilities on the site will be demolished by Bi-National Gateway Terminal to build a state-of-the-art air cargo terminal and ramp space for freighter aircraft. The agreement calls for the project to be developed in three phases following the demolition period with the initial development covering more than 32 acres for a cargo handling facility in excess of one million sq. ft. New aircraft ramp space, totaling one million sq. ft., will give the facility runway access to Lambert's airfield.
"This project is a major component of the Airport's strategic plan to grow international cargo activity while also maximizing our land and aviation related assets to create jobs and new business activity for the region," said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.
"This new air cargo project allows us to take advantage of excess capacity at Lambert while also raising our international profile," St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said. "It gives companies more options and reasons to use Lambert and will help St. Louis become even more engaged in the global economy."
The company is expected to take 18-24 months to build out the initial phase of the project.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is honoring National Tourism Week with its own celebration called #LambertThanks. Lambert will be kicking-off the week with themed, colorful décor and signage throughout the Terminals, including giant Chihuly-style balloon chandeliers to be suspended from the soaring ceilings in the ticketing areas. The Airport will entertain travelers with live, local music featuring nationally recognized talent performing all week. For the first time at Lambert, travelers will get to experience entertainment in the concourse areas, which better allows for immersion in the cultural experience. Even some of St. Louis’ favorite faces will stop by, like St. Louis Cardinals’ Fredbird, and the Looney Tunes characters from Six Flags St. Louis.
The Airlines will also be joining the celebration with festive décor. Schlafly Beer Bar & Grill in Concourse C will have daily prize drawings, with a grand prize drawing at the end of the week for a Schlafly Brewery tour for 10 people. St. Louis Brewmaster's Tap Room, 1876, LaTapenade and Beers of the World will also hold daily prize drawings for Anheuser-Busch sponsored backpacks and duffle bags, and will give away a grand prize Callaway Golf Club Cover.
You can follow all of Lambert’s festivities on social media at: Twitter.com/flySTL and Facebook.com/flySTL with the hashtag #LambertThanks. Lambert extends its appreciation and gratitude to its 13 million travelers each year, St. Louis area residents, visitors, the City of St. Louis, Lambert’s airlines, and its tenant partners.
For a complete schedule of activities and entertainment, please click HERE .
For two decades, the three static display jets proudly mounted at the main entrance and West side of the Missouri National Guard at Lambert were a memorable part of visits to the Airport. The planes were commemorative pieces of the 131st Bomb Wing legacy, and several individuals close to the aircraft came to watch as they were removed from their pedestal displays. For some, it proved to be an emotional moment.
The fighter jets are being relocated to their new home at Whiteman Air Force Base Heritage Park. In a process that took nearly a year to plan, moving the aircraft required expert manpower, huge harnesses, and massive cranes.
The first plane to be removed was the F-4 Phantom II (top). The story of this aircraft and removal was featured for our Lambert Photo of the Week: Final Flight. You can view that photo and article HERE. It was flown between 1978-1992, and had two confirmed MiG kills during the Vietnam War. One of the stories that didn't make the article, is how an exterior nook of the aircraft had become home to a beehive, and workers could be seen swatting the few remaining bees away as they moved about the plane.
Several days later, the F-100 was lifted (middle). This was the oldest of the three aircraft, and in the most fragile state. It was in service between 1962-1979, and was once part of the USAF's Thunderbird flight demonstration team, but was grounded after a crack was found in the wing. Of the three planes, The F-100 was mounted closest to Terminal 1, and had a cracked windshield as a result of the Lambert Terminal 1 tornado strike in 2011.
Weather delayed the removal of the final aircraft by more than a week. The F-15, arguably the most recognizable plane, was received from the 48th Fighter Squadron in 1991 (bottom). F-15s were flown by the 131st Bomb Wing (then known as the 131st Fighter Wing) from 1991-2009.
Each of the planes were lifted via harness onto flatbed trucks where they were partially disassembled. The last remaining elements of the aircraft were removed from the Missouri National Guard base this week. Before the ribbon cutting ceremony at Whiteman Air Force Base on June 12, 2015, the planes will receive a fresh coat of paint and partial restoration. An interesting fact: The special paint used on the aircraft requires a full week of mixing before it can be applied.
January saw the biggest jump in traffic for the quarter with total traffic up 4.3 percent or 878,410 passengers. February saw a passenger increase of 1.5 percent with 829,393 passengers. March improved by .6 percent with 1,079,574 total passengers. Click here for 2015 Year-to-Date passenger statistics.
The first quarter of 2015 also recorded a 1.5 percent increase in passenger aircraft departures totaling 18,916. Cargo flight activity is also trending up for the quarter with a 9.5 percent increase with 335 departing flights versus 306 in 2014.
Lambert’s 10 airlines currently serves 64 non-stop destinations, which includes seasonal service to four charter vacation destinations: Cancun, Mexico; Montego Bay, Jamaica; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; and Puerta Vallarta, Mexico. This summer, Lambert will add daily service to three additional destinations: Austin, Texas on Southwest Airlines, Portland, Oregon on Alaska Airlines and Jackson, Tennessee on Air Choice One.
Signature Flight Support celebrated a $3.3 million transformation of its fixed based operations (FBO) at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport during a grand reopening event. The company, which serves corporate and private aviation customers, operates on the north side of Lambert's airfield.
Signature's renovations can be seen throughout it's FBO with a modern and upscale waiting lobby, more access to technology and power ports, upgraded conference facilities, restroom enhancements and more choices for food and beverages. The amenities are for both flying customers as well as pilots.
The project also included improvements to hangars and fueling operations.
Southwest Airlines Captains Randy Hansen (left) and Rusty Jensen (right) wave to the crowd as “Missouri One” arrives at Lambert.
After 30 years of service in Missouri, Southwest Airlines surprised St. Louis with a gesture of dedication by unveiling the Missouri One Boeing 737-700 aircraft. Nearly two weeks of painting done in secret in Kansas City paid off, as the big reveal was made at both Kansas City International Airport (MCI), and later at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Thursday afternoon. Missouri One is detailed with images of the Missouri State flag, and is one of only ten planes with state flagship liveries in the Southwest fleet. Southwest Airlines CEO Gary Kelly was aboard the debut flight and gave a brief presentation, followed by words from City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. “Kansas City and St. Louis have been vital cities in our network for more than 30 years,” Kelly said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to show our love to our employees, customers and friends in the great state of Missouri than by dedicating this high-flying salute to them.”
Melanie Diane Gilmore embraces her brother for the very first time amidst family and news media outside the A Concourse.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport was the backdrop for a very emotional moment Thursday, and a truly incredible family reunion. Melanie Diane Gilmore (left) is 50 years old, and for her entire life, her family didn’t even know she was alive. Hours after giving birth, before even holding her child, Melanie’s mother was told her baby had died. For reasons unknown, Melanie was then adopted by another family, and currently resides with her husband and three children in Oregon. It was her children who uncovered the unbelievable story, and actually found the long-lost family members on Facebook, living in St. Louis. This image captures the first time Melanie and her brother met. Happily, she and her mother reunited that evening.
The exhibition showcases the vast collection of his hand-crafted robots that are created with everyday finds, from antique ceramic insulators to milkshake blenders. He’s also re-purposed discarded mechanisms like old phones, hair dryers, circuit boards and remote controls for parts, which find new life in his robots. Besides the collection within several art cases, the exhibition also features a 6-ft tall robot and an 8-ft welcome sign that allows passengers and guests to take their very own “robot selfie” as a little takeaway for visiting.
Christman has been building robots since 1952 when he was 6 years old. His first robot was an oatmeal box covered in tin foil and animated by wind-up toys that he had disassembled for their moving parts. Like many other children of the 1950s, he dreamt of making a robot that would do his chores for him.
Christman uses what he describes as “a form of gentle parody and genteel anarchy” in his craft while addressing robots as a serious contemporary issue, that of machines and automation eliminating the cultural usefulness and value of human labor. Christman sees the cuteness of robots as a “seductive quality of advancing modern technology.” Christman, through his alter-ego, Otto von Bismark Schnarr, currently displays his robots at the Robotorium exhibit in the City Museum in downtown St. Louis.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge are leading a delegation this week in Mexico City that has already yielded a major agreement to develop international cargo activity through St. Louis.
The St. Louis delegation, which also includes the World Trade Center of St. Louis, has been meeting with the Governor of the State of Mexico, Eruviel Ávila, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, E. Anthony Wayne. The Governor of the State of Mexico announced Tuesday the intent to form an official partnership with St. Louis and Lambert Airport to develop an international cargo program with St. Louis as a key hub for the State of Mexico’s international imports and exports. The partnership would involve Toluca International Airport (TIA), which serves the largest industrial region in the country of Mexico.
“This advances the Airport’s strategic plan to establish and grow scheduled international cargo activity and it certainly advances our dual customs project that would be key to facilitating Mexican cargo shipments through St. Louis,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.
Governor Ávila pledged great support to promote the project, which still needs to be approved by the government of Mexico. During these meetings, U.S. Ambassador Wayne also pledged to support this important commerce development. The St. Louis delegation also shared letters of support for the project from Missouri Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt as well as U.S. Representatives for Missouri, Ann Wagner and WM. Lacy Clay.
"We are here on an important mission for St. Louis, Missouri, and the Midwest to improve logistics between moving cargo between St. Louis and Mexico," Mayor Francis Slay said. "I want to thank the honorable Governor Eruviel Ávila, for his warm welcome, and I am encouraged by his enthusiasm, support, and partnership to work with us to bring a dual-customs facility to St. Louis."
Mexico is the third largest foreign trade partner for the St. Louis region valued at more than $3.5 Billion in total trade (commodities). The delegations meeting in Mexico this week are still working on next steps and timetables for additional meetings that will focus on the details of a formal commerce agreement.
Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.