St. Louis Public Radio News
7:36 am
Fri September 18, 2009

American makes big cuts to flights from St. Louis

St. Louis – American Airlines is making drastic cuts to flights from St. Louis. By next summer, the carrier will drop 46 flights and 20 destinations from its schedule at Lambert Airport.

That will leave just 36 American departures each day from St. Louis to nine cities.

American spokeswoman Mary Frances Fagan said the flights will not be coming back any time soon.

"Could it potentially see us adding a flight or two in St. Louis?" Fagan said. "I certainly can, but I can't say that today, because what we're saying to the marketplace in St. Louis is we're going to be reducing our schedule."

Fagan said the carrier is focusing on its five primary hubs: Chicago, Dallas, Miami, New York and Los Angeles.

She said the company was hit hard last year by rising fuel costs and then by the global economic crisis.

Richard Hrabko, the director of Lambert Airport, said St. Louis is no longer a hub for American Airlines, but rather a spoke. And U.S. Sen. Kit Bond, R-Mo., called the cuts "difficult and unfortunate."

"These route cuts will have a deep impact on the city of St. Louis," Bond said. "It is very, very bad news. Not only does it mean the inconvenience of fewer flights but even worse it means loss of jobs both directly and indirectly throughout the St. Louis community."

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said on his blog Thursday that the move is a bad business decision, and American is "walking away from loyal customers."