Fitch Ratings has upgraded St. Louis, Missouri's $740.2 million outstanding airport revenue bonds to 'BBB+' from 'BBB'. The global rating agency says the outlook for the City of St. Louis bonds remains stable.
The Fitch Ratings announcement noted continued stable traffic trends at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport following years of volatility due to the loss of the American Airlines hub and the economic recession. Furthermore, Fitch's baseline expectation is for leverage and airline costs to remain stable going forward and prudent fiscal management of the operating and capital expenditures is also a factor that helped strengthen the airport’s financial profile.
The bonds are secured by the net revenues generated from airport operations.
“The airport’s conservative debt profile, strong fiscal management and continued stability in airline traffic are all contributing factors to the positive news of the credit rating upgrade for the airport bonds,” said St. Louis City Comptroller Darlene Green.
“While continuing to operate a safe and efficient airport, we have been aggressive in reducing costs, growing revenue and growing community support for Lambert,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “It’s all helping to gain the attention of rating agencies.”
Lambert has seen two straight years of passenger growth. This summer, Lambert airlines are operating on average 255 daily departures to 63 non-stop locations. Lambert’s newest non-stop to Grand Rapids, MI will begin in August on Southwest Airlines.
Saint Louis County Bomb and Arson Team conducted a joint exercise with St. Louis Airport Police this week.
Robots and bomb disposal equipment were on display this week as the Airport Police Department conducted a joint exercise with Saint Louis County Police and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). Friday’s training exercise was held at Terminal 2. Multi-agency training exercises allow officers to become familiar with Airport facilities and equipment in advance of an actual call for a joint response. The Airport’s bomb detection dogs were also part of the exercise.
Lambert-St. Louis International Airport is the final airport chosen for a stopover during the upcoming cross country flight of the Solar Impulse, the first aircraft capable of flying 24 hours day and night powered exclusively by solar energy. The Solar Impulse Across America flight could begin within days departing from San Francisco’s Moffett Field. Lambert will be the Midwest US stop with a tentative arrival around the end of May. The flight plan also includes stops at Phoenix Sky Harbor, Dallas-Fort Worth, Washington DC-Dulles and New York’s JFK, where it will conclude its historic journey without using a single drop of fuel.
Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg, Swiss pilots and founders of Solar Impulse, are taking turns in flying the revolutionary aircraft across the U.S. in preparation for an even bigger goal of a zero-fuel flight around the world in 2015.
"For Solar Impulse the choice of St. Louis is an obvious one: it is a homage to all the pioneers, starting from Charles Lindbergh, who have contributed to the development of aviation," said Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg in a joint statement.
“The history of flight is traced through our city with the support of Charles Lindbergh’s transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis nearly 90 years ago,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “We are extremely proud to host a new aerial wonder as it demonstrates the next generation of aviation technologies.”
Solar Impulse is a prototype carbon fiber airplane with a wingspan of a jumbo jet (208ft) and the weight of a small car (3,500 lbs.). The aircraft is powered by 12,000 solar cells built into its wings which provide power to four 10hp electric motors. Solar cells recharge the aircraft’s lithium batteries during the day flight which allows the plane to continue flying at night.
“A flying laboratory for clean technologies, this prototype is the result of seven years of intense work in the fields of materials science, energy management and man-machine interface. Many of these technologies can also be applied to sectors beyond aviation,” said Piccard and Borschberg.
Lambert is now working with the Solar Impulse team on the logistics of the plane’s arrival. One of the key considerations for the stop-over was a secure shelter for the aircraft during the St. Louis layover. The aircraft will be parked inside an existing Lambert hangar now being considered for development for future cargo and logistics operations.
The 246,000 sq. ft. facility, formerly owned by Boeing and McDonnell Douglas, has a 40ft high bay entry and space to clear the wingspan of the Solar Impulse. Special events and a public viewing are now in the planning stages for the Solar Impulse stop in St. Louis. The flights will also be live streamed on the Solar Impulse’s website http://www.solarimpulse.com/en/tag/across-america.
Lambert- St. Louis International Airport is excited to hold a week- long celebration just for passengers. May 5-11, 2013 has been deemed National Tourism/Customer Appreciation Week. Passengers coming in and out of Lambert- St. Louis International Airport May 5-11 can look forward to some surprises. It is part of the airport’s focus on providing excellent customer service and the customer service program, Catch Us Giving. Lambert’s partners, contractors and Airline personnel are using customer appreciation week as their special way of thanking passengers for their business. Staff members are excited to kick off the week showcasing their musical talents Monday, May 6. Several staff members will sing or play on the entertainment stage in Terminal 1. There will also be performances by employees in Terminal 2. Tuesday is Mascot Day. Mascots Louie from the St. Louis Blues, Fredbird with the St. Louis Cardinals and Rampage with the St. Louis Rams camps will stop by Lambert Airport to meet and greet visitors. The weeklong event will have participation from a popular St. Louis attraction, Six Flags too. WB characters Daffy Duck and Bugs Bunny will be on hand to take pictures as well as US Bank’s Captain Shield. Retailers such as InMotion Entertainment will offer passengers discounts and free giveaways while they last. Explore St. Louis will wrap up customer appreciation week by giving passengers a taste of St. Louis. They will hand out one of the city’s signature food items, pre-packaged gooey Louie cakes. Here’s the line-up for National Tourism/Customer Appreciation Week, May 5-11, 2013.
Monday-Lambert Airport Talent Showcase
10:30-11:45 am- Guitarist/Singer Lupe
Tuesday- Mascot Day
Six Flags/WB Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck- 12-2pm (Terminal 2)
St. Louis Blues-Louie-12pm (Terminal 1)
St. Louis Cardinals-Fredbird- 3pm (Terminal 1)
St. Louis Rams-Rampage-3pm (Terminal 1)
Wednesday- Airlines Day
Thursday- Lambert Talent Showcase
10:30-11:45am-Pianist Bryan Johnson (United Airlines)-Terminal 1
12:30-1:15pm-Singer Ric Louis (TSA)-Terminal 1
1:30-2:00pm-Dana Washington (United Airlines)-Terminal 1
1:30-2:30pm- Saxophonist Readus Miller- (Shoe Shine)-Terminal 2
Friday-Local Bands and Explore St. Louis Day
Explore St. Louis- Louie Gooey Cakes
*Take pictures with famous St. Louis Icon Chuck Berry*
The Chuck Berry cutout will be available for passengers to take pictures with him!
New digital signs at Lambert feature employees who have been honored in the Catch Us Giving great customer service program.
If Airport employees get caught giving great customer service, they have a chance to receive some high praise. Literally. New advertising and messaging screens have been installed in numerous locations at Lambert, including the high ceiling just inside security at Terminal 2. These digital boards now feature employees honored in our Catch Us Giving program, which promotes great customer service. Passengers and visitors can nominate any employee who they encounter during their trip through Lambert. A Catch Us Giving committee representing Lambert, airlines, tenants and other service providers highlights two employees each month to be recognized based on their nominations. Nominations cards are in various locations at the Airport. You can also nominate online.
B.J. Vogt takes a level reading during the installation of framed art pieces outside the Airport administrative offices in Terminal 1.
The Airport’s latest art endeavor brings a sense of calm to a busy area in Terminal 1. Lambert has framed and hung the original art works that were created to produce the Airport’s three-panel glass screens in Concourses A and C (installed 2011/2012). Only ticketed passengers can see those works. Now everyone who passes through the terminal on the lower level can get a sense of inspiration. Magestic eagles, Missouri rivers, exquisite quilt patterns, as well as serene and abstract imagery are all part of the collection featuring local artists: Lauren Adams, Sarah Giannobile, Joan Hall, Jana Harper, Tom Huck, William LaChance, Eva Lundsager, Edna Patterson-Petty and Mel Watkin.
Rally Saint Louis has announced a major funding drive to support The Magic House in creating a hands-on learning exhibit at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Rally Saint Louis is the new social media crowd-sourcing platform that allows the public to vote and fund new ideas for St. Louis.
The Magic House, St. Louis Children’s Museum is proposing an innovative and engaging transportation-themed play space for Lambert’s C Concourse. The Magic House is committed to raising 75 percent of the $100,000 proposed cost for the exhibit. Rally Saint Louis is now seeking the final $25,000 from the public for the project that moved to the funding round after widespread community support and online votes. Lambert is working to provide 1,500 sq. ft. of space for the exhibit.
The exhibit concept, the St. Louis International Play Port, features a transportation hub of fun with climb-in and climb-out venues including a plane, a train and multiple cars. The Magic House is an expert at engaging children in hands-on learning experiences that encourage experimentation, creativity and developing problem-solving skills.
“The Magic House is known nationally, and we are excited that public is showing their support to help the Museum create a truly fascinating attraction for children and their families at the Airport,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “With additional funding, we hope to soon see imagination take flight as children try to fly a plane, become a train engineer, or hop in the driver’s seat of a car, and still make their real flight down the concourse.”
The concept for the play area also includes a child-size air traffic control tower, car rental counters and an airport screening area. Rally Saint Louis is pushing to raise the final phase of funding for The Magic House within the next 90 days.
The transformation of the retail scene is getting a big boost this week at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Hudson Group (HG-St. Louis JV) is opening its first phase of newly constructed stores since it became Lambert’s master news, gifts and specialty retail concessionaire on February 1.
The first wave of openings includes five stores that have just opened at Lambert. The first flagship Hudson travel convenience store (news, magazines, books, snacks, technology) is located in Terminal 1 on the C Concourse near gate C18. The new Bliss store featuring lotions and spa products also located in the C Concourse near gate C15.
In Terminal 2, the new Discover St. Louis store is open near gate E18. The boutique features souvenirs and mementos from all the leading cultural institutions in the city, including all the attractions at the Jefferson National Parks (including The Gateway Arch), Peabody Opera, St. Louis Art Museum, as well as entertainment attractions like the St. Louis Zoo, St. Louis Blues, and Washington University of St. Louis. Also in Terminal 2, a new Spectacles, featuring the latest eyewear from across the globe, is open near gate E12. Kids Works, featuring educational and travel toys and games is open near gate E22.
A sixth store, another Spectacles in the C Concourse, will open next week to round out the first phase of Hudson’s store openings at Lambert. Hudson Group has been operating out of existing retail locations or temporary kiosks to serve customers through this initial phase of store construction.
“The Hudson Group has done a tremendous job in the last two months working on the transition to all new stores, stocking new and must-have items while maintaining top level customer service,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “This is Lambert’s biggest retail makeover in two decades and our customers will have a whole new shopping experience with new brands and product offerings.”
Hudson and its business partners will operate 14 retail locations once it completes its build-out of stores. Additional news & gift and specialty stores will open in phases as construction continues through early summer. The full lineup of stores also includes Eddie Bauer, Ebony News, CNN Newsstand St. Louis and other Hudson news & gift locations.
A Hudson associate helps a customer at the first newly constructed store in Terminal 1’s C Concourse.
The first wave of new Hudson Group stores are now opening at Lambert. The first one opened this week. It’s the flagship Hudson travel and convenience store located in the C Concourse near gate C18. It offers newspapers, magazines, snacks and travel technology items. The store design features an entryway framed in black with the light blue Hudson logo. Inside, bright color panels at the top sit over store shelves. A total of five Hudson stores will eventually be built in the Airport’s terminals and concourses. Construction on the entire Hudson lineup of 14 store locations will continue through mid-summer. As early as next week, Hudson could open another four specialty stores including a Discover St. Louis boutique where travelers can find gift and memento items from top area tourist attractions.
The new Starbucks in Terminal 1.
St. Louis Starbucks fanatics can celebrate this weekend. The Terminal 1 Starbucks has reopened after several months of renovations. Regulars, and there are lots of Airport regulars, will instantly notice the new modern design with more seating and leather chairs. The location has expanded counters. The design also includes cafe style seating with some backgammon tables. This completes the renovations of Starbucks at Lambert. There are six locations in all.
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Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.