St. Louis Lambert International Airport | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Lambert International Airport

St. Louis Lambert International Airport. August 2018
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The city’s Airport Advisory Working Group met for the first time Tuesday with a cadre of legal, financial and aviation experts. Together they will prepare to seek and review bids from private investors vying for a lease to manage operations at St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The Lindbergh Conference Room overlooking the airport runways was the setting for a two-hour presentation by the outside experts. They laid out an 18-month timeline for hammering out the details of a potential public-private partnership for Lambert.

After many delays, the city’s contract with consultants to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport may be official soon.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

Francis Slay, just weeks before leaving office as mayor in April of last year, initiated the process that could lead to the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

In June of this year, Slay was hired by Ferrovial Airports, a Madrid-based company with extensive experience in managing airports in Europe, and considered one of three top contenders in the bidding process for Lambert.

After many delays, the city’s contract with consultants to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport may be official soon.
David Kovaluk | St. Louis Public Radio

When the Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved a contract with advisors to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport last month, it appeared the process was ready to take off after months of delays.

The city’s working group held its first meeting.

The first meeting of all the consultants and advisors on the project was scheduled.

But, there was a problem. The contract between the city and the lead consultants had not been signed.

Commerical planes parked at a St. Louis Lambert International Airport terminal.
St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The Advisor Team hired by the city of St. Louis to explore the privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport takes off next week, with its first official meeting on July 11.

The request for proposals, review and approval process is expected to take 18 to 24 months. The process has already been delayed by political maneuvers on the committee to select the advisors and it’s likely to hit more turbulence in the months ahead.

Flight board lambert airport
File photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Sun Country Airlines, a Minnesota-based low-cost carrier, will become the 11th major passenger airline at St. Louis Lambert International Airport this fall, with service to Tampa and Fort Myers.

Starting Oct. 3, the airline will begin nonstop service from St. Louis to Fort Myers, with flights departing on Wednesdays and Saturdays. On Nov. 1, it will begin service to Tampa, with flights departing on Thursdays and Sundays.

In addition to St. Louis, the airline also announced new routes from Dallas/Fort Worth and Madison, Wisconsin. Sun Country currently serves 37 markets in the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

A proposal to explore privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport has finally been cleared for takeoff.

The City’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment voted Wednesday to approve a contract with an advisory team charged with soliciting proposals from private firms to manage and oversee the operations of the airport.

The board is made up of Mayor Lyda Krewson, Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed and Comptroller Darlene Green. Krewson and Reed voted to approve the contract, while Green voted no.

Wow Air's inaugural St. Louis flight left to Reykjavik, Iceland, on May 17. Founder Skúli Mogensen stands in front of a Wow plane.
Wow Air

Carlye Lehnen has wanted to travel to Iceland since 2008, when the country underwent a banking crisis that made traveling there cheap. But when she looked for flights, they were too infrequent and expensive.

So when the 45-year-old heard that Icelandic airline Wow Air would start offering flights out of St. Louis Lambert International Airport, she leapt at the chance to fulfill a 10-year travel dream.

“As soon as it was announced, I had already booked my flight,” said Lehnen. She snagged the airline’s vaunted $99 fare.

lambert300.jpg
St. Louis Lambert International Airport

The vote over a contract to start looking into whether the city will privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport has been postponed.

The contract to hire a three-organization team was first approved by a city selection committee back in January. That committee approved an amended contract on Wednesday, but the Board of Estimate and Apportionment held off giving its final approval after a lengthy meeting Wednesday afternoon.

Two blue faces framed by jagged wood pieces rest on a bed of brick laid across a pedistal.
Provided by St. Louis Lambert International Airport

Holiday travelers will have a chance to see new art at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport this week.

At a time when many likely view the city as divided divided along political, economic and social lines, the exhibit in Terminal 1 aims to draw attention to the camaraderie and collaborative spirit that dominate the city’s art scene.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

If you've been waiting to walk around the gate areas of St. Louis Lambert International Airport with a beer or cocktail, you need to continue to exercise patience. The process to revise alcohol permits allowing new state regulations to go into effect is not yet complete.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

A few more details are emerging related to the city's consideration of whether to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

The Missouri House Special Committee on Urban Issues held a hearing in Clayton on Wednesday regarding airport privatization. Linda Martinez, who is Mayor Lyda Krewson’s deputy mayor of development, and airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugge took questions from the committee.

Flight board lambert airport
File photo | Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Passengers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport are on the verge of getting more time to surf the internet for free. A plan to increase the cap on daily Wi-Fi access is expected to go into effect next month, pending approval by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The bill making its way through City Hall increases the free daily limit to an hour, instead of the current 20 minutes. The change has been prompted by travelers, who want more time online before they have to start paying.

File photo | St. Louis Public Radio
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8:45 p.m. Aug. 16 with a statement from Uber — Uber and Lyft will now be able to pick up passengers at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.

St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Comptroller Darlene Green and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed all voted on Wednesday to authorize permits for ride-hailing companies, which cost $15,000 for two years.

A 100-foot sculpture  made from fibers and plastic sheets hangs from the ceiling at St. Louis Lambert International Airport over the heads of Southwest Airlines passengers waiting to pass through security.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Amid the hustle and bustle of morning rush at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a man in a red baseball hat, blue sportswear shirt, and flip flops chats with a woman in jeans and T-shirt and an adolescent girl in tie-dye.

Much of their exchange is lost to the cacophony of people asking agents for directions, complaining to airport workers about the long security line and making bland observations about arrivals and departures. Yet one comment slips through the noise.

“Wow, it looks like a lake,” the man said, nodding up at the new sculpture hanging from the ceiling, before turning to head through the security checkpoint.

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, thet director of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport discussed privatization, REAL ID, growth at the airport and more on Tuesday's "St. Louis on the Air."
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

During peak air travel season this summer, St. Louis Lambert International Airport will see about 260 flights per day, with about 71 total non-stop flights. This June, Terminal 2’s E Concourse will expand by four more gates to accommodate Southwest Airlines travel. 

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, St. Louis Lambert International Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge joined host Don Marsh to discuss recent growth at the airport, REAL ID compliance, the recent spate of airline controversy and talks about privatizing the airport. 

House Democrats, including Rep. Bruce Franks Jr., raise their hands to speak about the $10-an-hour minimum wage in St. Louis.
File | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Forty-five bills to Gov. Eric Greitens later, the Missouri General Assembly adjourned Friday having dealt with some high-priority items like right to work, banning cities from raising their minimum wage, complying with a federal ID mandate and making it harder to sue for workplace discrimination.

But other sought-after bills fell by the wayside, including one that would have allowed Missouri to shed its status as the last state in the U.S. without a prescription drug monitoring program and another getting rid of lobbyist gifts to officeholders — something Greitens campaigned on.

St. Louis Lambert International Airport
Michael R. Allen | Flickr

The Federal Aviation Administration has accepted the city of St. Louis’ preliminary application into an airport privatization pilot program.

The U.S. Department of Transportation made the announcement on Monday. Secretary Elaine L. Chao said the acceptance demonstrates the administration’s commitment to using innovative financing strategies to revitalize the nation’s aviation infrastructure.

St. Louisans among thousands protesting Trump’s immigration order nationwide

Jan 29, 2017
Protesters gathered outside the Terminal 1 departure area at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport on Jan. 29, 2017.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated to include information about Sunday's protest and official responses at 7:50 p.m.

St. Louisans gathered throughout the region over the weekend to protest President Donald J. Trump's executive order barring citizens of seven mostly Muslim countries from entering the United States.

Construction of the terminal designed by Minoru Yamasaki began in 1953. This photo shows the wooden framework that workers constructed before pouring the concrete to make the thin-shell concrete structure.
Missouri History Museum

In 2020, Lambert-St. Louis International Airport will celebrate its centennial.

Ahead of that time, we spoke with Daniel Rust, a former UMSL professor studying transportation and logistics, who recently published the book “The Aerial Crossroads of America: St. Louis’s Lambert Airport.” Rust currently is a researcher and professor at the University of Wisconsin-Superior.

About 1 million passengers come through Lambert airport every month. Photo taken in December 2016.
Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Visitors to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport can expect to see signs with the airport’s new name sometime in late January. The change will flip the name of airport founder Albert Bond Lambert with the name of the city — to St. Louis Lambert International Airport.

Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge said the goal is to emphasize the airport’s geographic location — which will help in marketing and outreach efforts — while continuing to recognize the legacy of Lambert who started the airport nearly 100 years ago.

St. Louis residents will probably notice little change when they go to the airport because fewer signs will be affected than people might expect, she said.

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