Lambert-St. Louis International Airport started strong in 2016 with a leap in passenger traffic ten percent higher than last year. In the first three months of 2016, the Airport served a total of 3,077,178 passengers (arriving and departing), as compared to 2,796,694 in the first quarter of 2015. February saw a dramatic 15.3 percent jump over last year’s numbers with 960,003 total passengers. January was up 9.8 percent (966,831 vs 880,250) and March improved 6.2 percent (1,150,344 vs 1,083,502). Total aircraft departures were up 4.3 percent, of which cargo departures increased 6.9 percent.
“We work closely with our airlines to meet growing demand for new service, and the public is responding,” said Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “This is exciting news for our region, and we expect this passenger growth to continue with more new flights coming this summer.”
Lambert’s passenger numbers are projected to climb as the second quarter began with eight daily departures added by Southwest Airlines across six destinations. STL gained two new markets with twice-daily flights each to Des Moines, IA (DES) and Wichita, KS (ICT). The airline also added Pittsburgh, PA (PIT), second daily flights to Tulsa, OK (TUL) and Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN (MSP), and previously seasonal service to Seattle, WA (SEA) is now year-round.
Lambert Airport will soon have a second option for travelers to reach the San Francisco Bay area with Southwest Airlines’ daily nonstop service to Oakland, CA (OAK) beginning June 5. Oakland is a new destination for the St. Louis region. Southwest is also adding nonstop service to Cleveland, OH (CLE) and Portland, OR (PDX) that same day. With the addition of this new service, Southwest will operate over 100 flights a day out of STL.
Southwest Airlines, which operates exclusively out of Terminal 2, expanded its terminal operations this month with the addition of two new gates, E31 and E33. The airline has installed two new jet ways, new carpeting, new podiums and new counters at its new gates in advance of the new service. Improvements to the western gates of the terminal (E29-E33) also included refreshed finishes in the main corridor and restrooms, along with new retail and food kiosks to accommodate the growth in passengers to that area of the terminal.