St. Louis Lambert International Airport
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St. Louis Lambert International Airport
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 (2016)
Aircraft operations 190,560
Passenger volume 13,959,126
Cargo tonnage 70,428
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 to over 80 domestic and international locations. In 2016, 13.9 million passengers traveled through the airport.[3] 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. Lambert 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.


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

The airport grew from 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.[4]

In June 1920, the Aero Club of St. Louis leased 170 acres of cornfield, the defunct Kinloch Racing Track[5] and the Kinloch Airfield in October 1923, during The International Air Races. The field was officially dedicated as Lambert-St. Louis Flying Field[6] in honor of Albert Bond Lambert, an Olympic silver medalist golfer in the 1904 Summer Games, president of Lambert Pharmaceutical Corporation (which made Listerine),[7] 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.[8]

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.[9]

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.[10]

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

After World War II - Airport expansion, Ozark Airlines 1945-1982

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.[10]

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.[8] 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.[11]

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.[12]) 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.[13] 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.[14][15]

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;[16] 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.[17]

TWA era 1982-2001

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.[18] After Concourse D was completed in 1985, TWA began transatlantic service from Lambert to London, Frankfurt and Paris.[19]

In 1985, Southwest Airlines began service.

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.[20] 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, 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.[21]

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. In late 1998, TWA announced it would begin daily St. Louis - Tokyo flights amidst a move of several international flights from Concourse C to Concourse E gates; these flights to Tokyo never materialized, however.[22]

In the late 1990s, TWA faced increasing problems as overall airline demand softened in response to a softening overall economy. As TWA entered the new millennium, its financial condition proved too precarious to continue alone and in January 2001 American Airlines (AA) announced it was buying TWA.

American Airlines, Air National Guard, Southwest Airlines 2001-present

Control tower and main terminal
131st Fighter Wing and American Airlines maintenance ramp at Lambert Airport

American Airlines' merger closed in April 2001 and the last TWA flight was flown on December 1, 2001 to TWA's original and historic hometown of Kansas City.

AA felt TWA's Lambert hub was a key asset. Its plan for Lambert was to become a reliever hub for AA's hubs at Chicago O'Hare and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport. American had been looking for a way to relieve its overcrowded hub at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, where nearly 40 percent of American's flights arrived at least 15 minutes late in June, July and August 2000. 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. American Airlines shifted some flights from mainline aircraft to commuter aircraft because of softening overall airline demand; overall flight levels remained strong, however. In July 2001, TWA, now a wholly owned subsidiary of American Airlines and its regional carrier Trans World Express, averaged 522 daily departures.[23]

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.[24] Overnight, AA no longer had the same need for a hub that bypasses its hubs at Chicago and Dallas, which suddenly became less congested.[25] AA cut flights out of St. Louis from 522 daily flights as of July 2001, to approximately 450 flights as of December 2001. Flights to Paris, France went to seasonal service in December 2001 and transatlantic service was soon discontinued altogether when it stopped flying nonstop from St. Louis to London Gatwick airport. AA transferred many mainline routes to American Connection, a group of affiliated regional carriers.

By June 2002, AA had further reduced service to 439 daily flights to 109 cities; only 276 of those flights were on AA mainline aircraft and 163 were flown on commuter aircraft operated as American Connection. At the time, Lambert was AA's third-largest hub ranked by number of daily departures and its second-largest hub ranked by number of destinations served. AA's largest hub at the time was DFW, with 757 daily flights to 145 destinations. AA's Chicago O'Hare hub had 489 daily flights to 102 destinations, STL had 439 flights to 109 destinations, while its Miami hub had just 236 flights to 79 destinations. Much of the reduction in service could be blamed on the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Lambert was affected disproportionately due to flight cuts and shifts of flights from mainline to commuter aircraft, however, because of Lambert's lessened need as a reliever hub since O'Hare was less congested.

By September 2002, Lambert's passenger traffic had declined by 16.9% from before the terrorist attacks a year earlier, which was the eighth-biggest percentage drop of the major US airports. Total passengers enplaned for the year fell to 25.6 million. AA's other hubs suffered from reduced traffic, but to a lesser degree with the exception of Miami, which suffered from a 16.0% decline. New York JFK's traffic dropped 12.6%, DFW traffic dropped 6.7%, O'Hare traffic dropped 6.5%.[26] Even though O'Hare's drop in traffic was the lowest, the 6.5% reduction at O'Hare was enough to virtually eliminate its previous problems with congestion-related delays that suffered from prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, removing a main purpose for AA's St. Louis hub. As a result of the reduced congestion at O'Hare, Congress eliminated all slot restrictions at O'Hare in July 2002.[27]

On July 16, 2003, AA announced it was significantly reducing its Lambert hub effective November 1, 2003, cutting it from 417 daily flights to 207, effective November 1, 2003.[28] Total Lambert passengers enplaned dropped to 20.4 million in 2003, then to 13.4 million in 2004.[3] AA introduced American Eagle service at its St. Louis hub in May 2005. Unlike American Connection, American Eagle operated by Envoy Air is wholly owned by American Airlines Group, the parent company of American Airlines and Envoy Air.[]

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, then flew away. The event was attended by more than 2,200 people who said goodbye to a part of airport history for over 85 years.[]

Lambert's passenger traffic slowly rebounded from American Airlines' cuts of November 2003, increasing from a low of 13.4 million passengers enplaned in 2004, to 15.4 million by 2007 and increase of almost 15 percent.[3]

During 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. AA cut its overall system capacity by 5% during 2008. At Lambert, AA shifted even more flights from its mainline jets to commuter airplanes.[29] Total passengers enplaned fell 6% to 14.4 million in 2008, then fell another 11% to 12.8 million passengers in 2009.[3]

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.[30] These cuts ended the remaining hub operation.[31] AA's only remaining nonstop flights out of St Louis were limited to the five focus cities (four hubs plus LAX) as well as Boston, New York/LaGuardia, Seattle and Washington/National. American's announcement that its St. Louis hub would close was part of its new "Cornerstone" plan whereby the airline would be concentrating on its 4 primary hubs in major markets: Chicago O'Hare, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Miami and New York, with a focus city in Los Angeles. While it cut approximately 165 daily flights from St. Louis, AA increased flights at O'Hare by 57 daily flights and by 15 new destinations, to a new total of 487 daily flights to 114 destinations. Ironically, due to soft overall airline demand, the O'Hare hub lost a net 11 daily mainline flights, offset by 68 new regional jet flights. At its DFW hub, AA increased flights by 19 daily flight and one additional destination, for a new total of 780 daily flights to 160 destinations. At its Miami hub, AA increased flights 23 daily flights and one additional destination, to a new total of 294 daily flights to 108 destinations.[32] AA also cut flights out of several other non-hub cities, especially in Boston and Raleigh-Durham. In particular, AA's move to increase flights at O'Hare was a strategic move to catch up to United Airlines, which had its largest hub there but was cutting its flights at the time,[33]

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.[34] Total passengers enplaned fell to 12.3 million in 2010, the lowest passenger total in decades. Passenger traffic rebounded in 2011, increasing 1.6% to 12.5 million enplaned and increased another 1.1% in 2012, to 12.7 million.

As of May 2012, the airport is on a significant upswing, with traffic up by about 14%.[]Southwest Airlines has also announced that over the next few years, they will add several new routes out of Lambert International.[] Lambert has said they are in talks with Delta Air Lines and American Airlines to try and land a route to London.[] St. Louis is the largest market in the United States that does not have a flight to Europe.[] St. Louis Lambert International Airport was the 31st-busiest airport in the U.S. as ranked by Airports Council International-North America.[] Lambert served nearly 13 million passengers in 2012.[3]

On October 22, 2012, a Virgin Atlantic Airbus A340 landed at Lambert carrying Virgin Atlantic executives, including Richard Branson to discuss and explore the likelihood of a St. Louis route.[]

By 2013, flights at the airport had continued their steady growth, with 64 non-stop cities served, including 6 international destinations, St. Louis had grown to one of Southwest Airlines' top 10 cities, ranked No. 10, with 95 daily departures to 35 non-stop destinations, per its March 2013 schedule update. The airline currently operates out of 10 gates.[35]

In May 2013, Moody's raised its rating on Lambert Airport's bonds to A3-stable outlook from Baa1 with a stable outlook. Standard & Poor's 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.[36]

In 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.[37]

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.[38][39] 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.[40] 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.[41]

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%.[42]

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".[43]

Runway 11/29

During the late 1990s, 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.[44]

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.[45] It required moving seven major roads and destroying about 2,000 homes, six churches and four schools in Bridgeton, Missouri.[45][46][47] Construction began in 1998 and continued even as traffic at the airport declined after the 9/11 attacks, the TWA purchase and American's 2003 flight reductions.[48][49] On April 13, 2006, American Airlines Flight 2470 became the first commercial airliner to land on the new runway.[50]

Now complete, the runway is used by an estimated 5% of flights, far less than anticipated. Fuel and time-conscious airlines shun it because it is farther from terminals than the older runways.[45]

2011 St. Louis tornado

Terminal 1 windows boarded up after the tornado

About 8:10 p.m. on April 22, 2011, an EF4[51] tornado struck the airport's Terminal 1, destroying jetways and breaking more than half of the windows.[52][52][53][54] 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.[55] One aircraft, with passengers still aboard, was moved away from its jetway by the storm.[56] The FAA closed the airport on April 22 at 08:54 pm CDT, then reopened it the following day at temporarily lower capacity.[57] The C concourse underwent renovations and repairs, and they were completed and reopened on April 2, 2012.[58]

The damage to Concourse C forced several airlines to use vacant gates in the B and D concourses, including AirTran, American, Cape Air and Frontier.[58] Frontier Airlines moved to B, while American and Cape Air went to D. Airtran was moved to Terminal 2 with Southwest Airlines.

Kwame Building Group assisted with the reconstruction, and the Airport Experience Program commenced immediately.[59]

Later in the year, the TSA declared 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.[60]



The Lambert control tower

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

Control Tower

The airport's current ~156-foot (~47.6-meter) control tower opened in 1997 at a cost of approximately $15,000,000.[61][62]


STL Terminal Layout

The airport has two terminals with a total of 5 concourses. International flights and passengers use Terminal 2, whose lower level holds the Immigration and customs gates. 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.[63]

Terminal 1

Concourse C Gates
  • Concourse A: Gates A2-A4, A5*, A6, A7*, A8-A10, A12, A14-A19, A21
    • Used by 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 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)
    • Used by 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. [64]
    • Note: Concourse C was reopened on April 2, 2012, almost one year after a tornado destroyed much of the concourse.
    • Note: The far end of Concourse C contains a first-level U.S. Customs facility that has remained unused since the early 2000s.
  • 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 future airline expansion.
    • Note: 12 gates of Concourse D were closed as a cost-saving measure in 2008. These gates may become active in the future with the growth of Concourse E.

Terminal 2

  • 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 operations. WOW Airlines will operate out of T2 beginning May 17, 2018.
    • 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.

Airline lounges

The American Airlines Admirals Club at the B/C/D connector is large for its type, with seats for 244. It has a bar/snack area, basic ticketing functions, espresso bar, three private conference rooms and complimentary use of six PCs, dataports, copier, printer and paper shredder.[65][66] This club was damaged by the 2011 tornado and was temporarily relocated to a holding space in Concourse D until it reopened in 2013.[]

In January 2018, a new common-use lounge, operated by Wingtips, opened in Terminal 2 (near E31). This lounge is the first in Terminal 2 and the only common use club in the airport.[67]

Lambert's USO facility, on the lower level of the Terminal 1 next to baggage claim carousel #M6, is one of the largest in the country. Open 24 hours a day, it serves more than 120,000 military men and women each year.[68]

The airport has cited interest in a Delta Sky Club in the A Concourse.[69]

Construction was started for a United Red Carpet Club, but ended due to a strike by the contractor's workers.[69]

Black Americans in Flight mural

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.[70][71] The mural had a re-dedication ceremony in 2012.

Aircraft on display

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.[72] Until 1998, a Ryan B-1 Brougham, a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis, hung next to the D-145.[73]

Aircraft production

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 now uses its St. Louis facilities as headquarters for its Boeing Defense, Space & Security division. The plant currently builds the F-15 Strike Eagle, F/A-18 Super Hornet and EA-18 Growler; and is home to Boeing Phantom Works.[]

The first two prototypes of the Boeing T-X trainer, Boeing and Saab'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.[74] On May 15, 2017, Boeing announced that St. Louis would be the assembly location for the T-X should they win the USAF contract.[75]

Other facilities

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.[76]

Airport Terminal Services Inc. maintains several facilities at Lambert and is headquartered in St. Louis.[77]

Cargo Operations

China cargo hub and Aerotropolis endeavour

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.[78][79] 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.[80]

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.[81]

In 2011, the "Aerotropolis Tax Credit"[82] 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.[83] 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.[84][85]

In September 2011, the first China Cargo Airlines flight arrived from Shanghai-Pudong.[86] The hub's future was questioned when the airline canceled every subsequent weekly flight in 2011.[87]

In 2013, the airline's lease for cargo space in the airport expired and was not renewed, seemingly ending the partnership.[88] 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.[89]

U.S. - Mexico Dual-Customs Cargo Facility

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.[90][91]

In 2015, the airport stated it was heavily focused on increasing cargo traffic as part of its 2015 Five-Year Plan.[92] 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.[93]

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.[94]

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.[95] 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.[96][97]

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.[98]

Airlines and destinations


Airlines Destinations References
Toronto-Pearson [99]
Air Choice One Burlington (IA), Decatur (end February 13, 2018), Fort Dodge, Jackson (TN), Jonesboro, Mason City [100]
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 [102]
Apple Vacations Cancún, Montego Bay, Punta Cana
Seasonal: Huatulco, Puerto Vallarta, San José del Cabo
Cape Air Decatur (begins February 14, 2018), Fort Leonard Wood, Kirksville, Marion, Owensboro [104]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City [105]
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, 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 San Francisco
Seasonal: Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Newark
United Express Chicago-O'Hare, Denver, Houston-Intercontinental, Newark, San Francisco, Washington-Dulles [108]
WOW air Reykjavík-Keflavík (begins May 17, 2018) [109]



Airline market share

Busiest airlines serving STL (November 2016 - October 2017)[42]
Airlines   Passengers (arriving and departing)
Southwest Airlines
American Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Frontier Airlines
GoJet Airlines

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from STL (November 2016 - October 2017)[42]
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

Passenger and Operational Statistics

Annual passenger traffic (enplaned + deplaned), 1985 - Present; Annual commercial airplane movements, 1990 - Present[110][3][111][112]
Year Total Passengers  % Change Aircraft Movements  % Change Notes
1985 19,942,401 Steady Steady Steady Concourse D completed. Southwest enters market.
1986 20,352,383 Increase 2.06% Steady Steady TWA acquires Ozark Airlines and its St. Louis hub.
1987 20,362,606 Increase 0.05% Steady Steady
1988 20,170,060 Decrease 0.95% Steady Steady
1989 20,015,015 Decrease 0.77% Steady Steady
1990 20,065,737 Increase 0.25% 391,534 Steady
1991 19,151,278 Decrease 4.56% 367,960 Decrease 6.02%
1992 20,984,782 Increase 9.57% 382,337 Increase 3.91%
1993 19,923,774 Decrease 5.06% 398,750 Increase 4.29%
1994 23,362,671 Increase 17.26% 433,737 Increase 8.77%
1995 25,719,351 Increase 10.09% 474,414 Increase 9.38%
1996 27,274,846 Increase 6.05% 474,929 Increase 0.11%
1997 27,661,144 Increase 1.42% 484,288 Increase 1.97%
1998 28,700,622 Increase 3.76% 471,481 Decrease 2.64% Work begins on Runway 11/29. East Terminal (Terminal 2) opens.
1999 30,188,973 Increase 5.19% 474,166 Increase 0.57%
2000 30,558,991 Increase 1.23% 456,827 Decrease 3.66%
2001 26,695,019 Decrease 12.64% 452,866 Decrease 0.87% American Airlines acquires TWA and its St. Louis hub.
2002 25,626,114 Decrease 4.00% 420,904 Decrease 7.06% American begins to downsize the hub following 9/11.
2003 20,431,132 Decrease 20.27% 312,439 Decrease 25.77%
2004 13,396,028 Decrease 34.43% 266,898 Decrease 14.58%
2005 14,697,263 Increase 9.71% 268,801 Increase 0.71%
2006 15,205,944 Increase 3.46% 244,328 Decrease 9.10% Runway 11/29 completed.
2007 15,384,557 Increase 1.18% 235,100 Decrease 3.78%
2008 14,431,471 Decrease 6.20% 234,834 Decrease 0.11%
2009 12,796,302 Decrease 11.33% 199,202 Decrease 15.17% Southwest announces major service increases.
2010 12,331,426 Decrease 3.63% 160,633 Decrease 19.36% American Airlines closes the St. Louis hub.
2011 12,526,150 Increase 1.58% 179,074 Increase 11.48% The airport is hit by an EF4 tornado.
2012 12,688,726 Increase 1.30% 181,315 Increase 1.25%
2013 12,570,128 Decrease 0.94% 178,303 Decrease 1.66%
2014 12,384,015 Decrease 1.48% 174,146 Decrease 2.33%
2015 12,752,331 Increase 2.97% 175,865 Increase 0.99%
2016 13,959,126 Increase 9.46% 180,451 Increase 2.61% Airport modernization and renovation projects completed.
2017 13,547,344 (Through November) Increase 5.8% 180,642 (Through November) Increase 3.3%

Cargo Statistics

Annual cargo tonnage, 2015 - Present[112][113]
Year Tonnage  % Change Notes
2015 62,841 Steady
2016 70,428 Increase 12.1%
2017 65,290 (Through November) Increase 3.2%

Operations Breakdown

Operations over a 12 month period ending 6/30/17[114]
Air Carrier Air Taxi GA Local GA Itinerant Military Total
131,994 52,117 7,480 216 2,366 194,173
Average Daily Operations[115]
Air Carrier Air Taxi GA Local GA Itinerant Military Total
361 142 20 0 6 529

Based Aircraft

There are 18 aircraft based at STL as of June 30, 2017.[114][115]

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

Ground transportation

Mass transit/light rail/subway

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 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.


21st-century renovation

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.[116]

  • 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]

Incidents and accidents

  • 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 culture



Airport Safety

See also


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

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