Lambert Airport working to attract international flights -

Lambert Airport working to attract international flights

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(Credit: KMOV) (Credit: KMOV)

ST. LOUIS, Mo. ( - Years after the international gates at Lambert International closed, there are indications that direct international flights to Europe may soon be making a comeback.

When American Airlines bought out TWA and decided to no longer use St. Louis as a Midwest hub, the direct flights to Europe left Lambert too. 

However, traffic at Lambert has been steadily increasing over recent years. Southwest Airlines, who does not fly to Europe, has added more flights in and out of Lambert.  Traffic has increased so much that Southwest has refurbished the once shuttered international gates that are connected to Terminal 2 because they needed additional gates to handle the higher traffic.

Dan Landson, a Senior Communications Specialist with Southwest Airlines, flew to St. Louis to speak about the expanding Southwest network at Lambert. Landson explained that instead of sending passengers from cities like Des Moines and Wichita through congested and often weather-delayed Chicago Midway, Southwest is routing more of them through St. Louis resulting in more than 100 daily departures from Lambert.

Lambert St. Louis Airport Director, Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugee, says they are working to court international carriers British Airways and Lufthansa. Depending on the time over year, 300-400 people pass through the St. Louis airport on their way to or from Europe via other connecting flights. 

Any deals are far from completed and Hamm-Niebruege says St. Louis is facing stiff competition from Nashville. Some carriers, including Canada-based WestJets, consider Nashville more appealing because of its leisure appeal. 

Although Southwest has no plans to expand to Europe anytime soon, Landson pointed out that the design of the Southwest gates at Lambert would make non-stop flights to Mexico and the Caribbean feasible.

Copyright 2016 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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