By Matt Sepic, KWMU
St. Louis – Delta Airlines has begun daily nonstop jet service from Lambert Airport in St. Louis to New York City and Atlanta.
The news is welcome to airport officials, who are trying to rebuild Lambert's flight schedule in the wake of cuts American Airlines announced last month.
Airport Director Leonard Griggs said the four new flights are the start of a rebound.
"Across the board, people are beginning to realize the potential of St. Louis," Griggs said. "I think while the American action was dramatic, it forces us to take some rather severe steps on how we're going to accomplish things. We're taking those steps."
Denver-based Frontier Airlines, as well as United and Northwest, have also announced new service, Griggs said.
The new flights represent just a fraction of the 210 departures Lambert will lose when American Airlines cuts service in half November 1.
Following American's announcement, Standard & Poors lowered Lambert's bond rating to BBB+, or medium grade. S&P and two other credit rating firms put the bonds on a 90-day watch list for further downgrades.
A lower bond rating could make financing Lambert's multi billion-dollar expansion more expensive. Griggs said if more flights are added, the bond ratings could be restored.