St Louis: The Incredible Shrinking Airport

Lambert-St Louis International Airport is a hub without an airline. It has been struggling with the dramatic drop in traffic since TWA went under and American slowly culled the remains, and now it’s trying to reconfigure itself to be a smaller airport. That’s not something you see very often.

Just a few years ago, St Louis was the major hub of TWA. Traffic was booming and they even saw a need to build a new runway. Now that runway has proven to be completely unnecessary. American plucked TWA out of bankruptcy and has done nothing but shrink St Louis since. The halls of concourses C and D used to be packed full of travelers. Now, as I discovered when I flew through St Louis on American in December, D is nearly empty and C is fading fast. So here’s the new plan:

The New St Louis Lambert Airport Configuration

Not much is changing on Concourse A. That’s the home of the “other” airlines. Nobody is moving in or out over there. But there are a few stragglers currently scattered that will be consolidated on C. Concourse B will basically be shut as the last tenant, AirTran, will move into a space in C where American used to be. Concourse D is already cut off just a few gates in, but now the rest will be closed as well. Frontier and Cape Air will move over to C and that’s where Midwest will go when it starts service. Concourse E, which is part of a separate terminal and isn’t connected to the rest of the airport, will continue to be the home of Southwest. That’s the liveliest part of the airport these days, and it’s the newest part as well.

Back in concourses A and C, $50 million in renovations will take place. There will be new lighting, paint, and restrooms to give them a newer look. There will also be new restrooms and ticket counters in the main terminal area. They’ll be raising ceilings and increasing natural light throughout to give it a more modern feel.

Basically, they’re bringing an old terminal up to par while trying to seal off the past. That’s a painful thing to go through, I imagine.

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