I am a St. Louis native, grew up here during the days of TWA. I have watched Lambert Airport's "world" status dwindle over the years. Today American Airlines dealt the city a major blow, they are eliminating all but 36 flights to 9 airports. It's unbelievable when you think about how many flights American used to have at Lambert. I realize American acquired TWA in 2001, and the attacks on September 11th of that same year crushed the airline industry. Today the airline tells us they are cutting back in St. Louis to focus on key hubs like O'Hare, DFW, Miami, and Los Angeles. The airline blames the St. Louis cutbacks on the global economy, and the fact that they have lost 1.9 billion in the last 18 months - but the last time I checked the global economy also impacted places like Dallas and Chicago. The airline is adding 57 flights at OHare, and nearly 20 in Dallas. I have talked to dozens of travelers and many airline employees, and I have come to one conclusion - SOMETHING ABOUT THE CUTS IN ST LOUIS JUST DOESN'T ADD UP. Tonight I talked to a pilot, he tells me St. Louis is one of the most profitable citys in the American network, in fact he wants to provide me with some internal documents to prove it. I know what some of you are going to say .... city's like Chicago, Dallas, Miami and LA are bigger, therefore they should have more air service. I understand these arguments, but this is a region of nearly 3 million people and a lot of them think we are getting the shaft. Today's announcement should send a strong message to city leaders, it is time to move past American Airlines - this city needs to be aggressive about new carriers and new transportation ideas - it's essential for our region to grow. Afterall, what companies are going to locate here if their employees and managers have to spend hours connecting through O'Hare (and that situation will get worse this winter when they are delayed or cancelled because of weather) to get here. What happened today is a big deal, and could have permanent ramifications for our region.