St. Louis Lambert Int. Airport [airline/hub/operations/info]

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First unread post4767 posts
JAL007 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:09 pm

Again I hate to be a downer, I’m trying to be real here but the local population in STL with the financial means to support such service is generally content going to Naples, FL and Lake of the Ozarks not London and Santorini. And the few people that have both the means and desire to travel abroad in a premium cabin are already doing so with an intermediate stop.

Yes some here will say STL has both Saks Fifth Avenue & Neiman Marcus in addition to both a ~300 room Ritz-Carlton AND Four Seasons none of which either PIT or BNA have, but again that infrastructure has been in place for over a quarter century when the region was more relevant on a national level (a decade in the case of the FS but with significant abatements and subsides from the City of St. Louis). Those remain in place as they have established clientele (that by and large are aging) but it’s not like they’d decide to open an incremental property or store in the STL market were they not already in place.
I would argue the region would love to travel to Europe if it had more access (hence why the WOW flight has been doing so well). Now, I understand the WOW traveler and the business class traveler are different people but I think as with most routes, you stimulate demand when you have a nonstop.

I am sure those people traveling in business class with an intermediate stop would love to start traveling without that stop and would pay extra to do so.

I personally don't care about the past and try to look at the now.

I am going to use PIT as a comp just because that is who we have been talking about.

Latest GDP I could find (2016) we are larger and growing faster.
Population we are growing (albeit slow), they are shrinking. Which includes being 500k larger.
We have a higher O&D airline traffic than PIT.
We have more Fortune 500 and 1000 companies.
By all the metrics I could find we fare better, so it is hard for me to believe they have more premium travel than we do. Especially, so much more that BA said we know you already have others with premium cabins serving you but hey lets go ahead and add us to the market also.

So back to my argument that incentives are what gets air travel to Europe. PIT has given then out a bunch and that is why they now have 4 airlines to Europe. STL hasn't so that is why we have 1. If STL decides to start giving them out then service will come.

The port authority came out last year and said they are going to give more money towards getting European air travel, so I believe something will be coming. The airport isn't looking to add a 2nd FIS facility (that can handle 5 planes at a time) and re-opening more gates just to do it. They never spend money proactively like that unless there is something coming down the pipe, that is most likely already agreed to.

So we will just have to agree to disagree on this.
JAL007 is one of the biggest trolls on this thread. He/She does not live in STL or anywhere close. Is clueless on stats (pointing out Neiman Marcus and Saks ...good grief) and loves to fly into this thread to dog on STL.

His/Her posts are nothing more than hearsay, biased, clueless, irrelevant and ridiculous crap IMO.

Just ignore them and move on. Not worth your time and keyboard.
First note: I am a stagehand and musician. I'm a pretty good musician and a quite experienced stagehand, but I'm not a pilot, airline employee, or friend of an airline or airport executive. I take pictures. I read threads. I read books.

To this amateur plane spotter and aviation enthusiast JAL007 comes across as pretty savy and well informed. (Albeit somewhat acerbic at times.) They speak the lingo. They appear to understand the ins and outs of the biz. While I think they might be a wee bit too negative on our fair city at times I believe they have essentially said exactly the same thing as Jshank, in the end: it's the incentives that win the day in midsize markets. There's no "deserve." JAL is saying "if STL wants it they better shell out, 'cause otherwise they're not coming." Jshank is saying "We didn't get it yet because we put our money elsewhere, but I think we're ready to shell out now." These two things are not actually contradictory. Just putting the emphasis in different places. Which . . . we all do sometimes. Lord knows I've pissed folks off on here a few times. (Maybe intentionally once or twice. Surely not once or twice.) I do wish JAL007 would be a bit less negative sometimes, but I know that we do tend to look at things through somewhat rose colored glasses. "Man, we used to be so 1904! 800K people in city limits! TWA was the bestest! [Seriously. Except a lot of us hated them at the time.] AB, Mon, McD, Ral, rah, ree!" Sometimes it takes a troll? I don't know. I'm just glad we're ALL here saying our piece and maybe learning a thing or two in the process.

Anyway . . . looking forward to seeing what the folks in charge do with the incentive cash. And what the heck that customs facility is all about. And in the meantime you want flying things? Go see Apollo 11 before she leaves town. (Seriously cool!) And now back to your regularly scheduled fanboying. ;-)
jshank83 wrote:
JAL007 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 6:09 pm

Again I hate to be a downer, I’m trying to be real here but the local population in STL with the financial means to support such service is generally content going to Naples, FL and Lake of the Ozarks not London and Santorini. And the few people that have both the means and desire to travel abroad in a premium cabin are already doing so with an intermediate stop.

Yes some here will say STL has both Saks Fifth Avenue & Neiman Marcus in addition to both a ~300 room Ritz-Carlton AND Four Seasons none of which either PIT or BNA have, but again that infrastructure has been in place for over a quarter century when the region was more relevant on a national level (a decade in the case of the FS but with significant abatements and subsides from the City of St. Louis). Those remain in place as they have established clientele (that by and large are aging) but it’s not like they’d decide to open an incremental property or store in the STL market were they not already in place.
I would argue the region would love to travel to Europe if it had more access (hence why the WOW flight has been doing so well). Now, I understand the WOW traveler and the business class traveler are different people but I think as with most routes, you stimulate demand when you have a nonstop.

I am sure those people traveling in business class with an intermediate stop would love to start traveling without that stop and would pay extra to do so.

I personally don't care about the past and try to look at the now.

I am going to use PIT as a comp just because that is who we have been talking about.

Latest GDP I could find (2016) we are larger and growing faster.
Population we are growing (albeit slow), they are shrinking. Which includes being 500k larger.
We have a higher O&D airline traffic than PIT.
We have more Fortune 500 and 1000 companies.
By all the metrics I could find we fare better, so it is hard for me to believe they have more premium travel than we do. Especially, so much more that BA said we know you already have others with premium cabins serving you but hey lets go ahead and add us to the market also.

So back to my argument that incentives are what gets air travel to Europe. PIT has given then out a bunch and that is why they now have 4 airlines to Europe. STL hasn't so that is why we have 1. If STL decides to start giving them out then service will come.

The port authority came out last year and said they are going to give more money towards getting European air travel, so I believe something will be coming. The airport isn't looking to add a 2nd FIS facility (that can handle 5 planes at a time) and re-opening more gates just to do it. They never spend money proactively like that unless there is something coming down the pipe, that is most likely already agreed to.

So we will just have to agree to disagree on this.
I had assumed PIT was getting all these Europe flights in part because of the large presence Tech Companies have there(ex. Apple and Uber to name a few). The fact that they have such poor West Coast connections is a complete puzzle to me. I don’t get why they wouldn’t want to gain better connections to the tech HQs out West over 2 flights to China.

Speaking of flights to China, it can’t be that hard to find 600 chinese people interested in spending 3 days in PITT or STL or KC. I think that PITT could be on to something here, but not for 500k per round trip. I’m kind of surprised no one around here has really thought about targeting Chinese tourists.

On another note, Aer Lingus Service to Missouri would be cool. I wonder if Jet Blue would follow them into a new mid western market?


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JAL007 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:15 pm
Chalupas54 wrote:
Sat Aug 04, 2018 11:23 pm
I find these developments out of PIT...interesting.

AFAIK, the Pittsburgh metro is shrinking and is not seeing economic growth.

Also, as jshank pointed out, they have really poor west coast offerings.
Bitter much?

PIT actually has a fair amount in common with STL (similar size MSAs, both have city occupational earnings taxes, similar composition of local economies)

What’s different about PIT is there is a much more collaborative regional focused government that has worked well with the hand they’ve been dealt rather than reminisce about how a century ago they were the fifth largest city in the country.

Yes, STL has WUSTL and SLU but PIT has PITT and Carnegie Melon whose campuses are adjacent and work collaboratively on things like public safety and other student services. SLU obviously isn’t quite in the same league but point is the regional leadership isn’t so provincial and closed minded.

Not sure where or why you believe some major announcement is imminent, there’s been a flurry of announcements for next (north) summer already including BA LHR-PIT, UA IAD-TLV, several DL transatlantic network realignments, NZ AKL-ORD among others.

Absent a revenue guarantee or incentive there’s no reason a carrier like BA would dedicate a $100 million LHR slot pair and ~$150 million capital asset to serve what would be initially, at best, a marginal market. Seriously how do you expect them to fill the premium cabin with fare paying passengers (not awards, upgrades or non-revs)?
Calm down and take a xanax.

There was no bitterness in that post. It genuinely interests me how a declining metro like PIT can attract service like that.
matguy70 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 10:30 pm
JAL007 is one of the biggest trolls on this thread. He/She does not live in STL or anywhere close. Is clueless on stats (pointing out Neiman Marcus and Saks ...good grief) and loves to fly into this thread to dog on STL.

His/Her posts are nothing more than hearsay, biased, clueless, irrelevant and ridiculous crap IMO.

Just ignore them and move on. Not worth your time and keyboard.
They went a while without the STL bashing, but my comment about PIT triggered them.
JAL007 wrote:
Sun Aug 05, 2018 5:15 pm
What’s different about PIT is there is a much more collaborative regional focused government that has worked well with the hand they’ve been dealt rather than reminisce about how a century ago they were the fifth largest city in the country.
fourth largest. and you're being a little disingenuous. there's bit more going on than reminiscing these days.
So is the upcoming Jacksonville service on Frontier actually year-round as stated in the Lambert press release and all the local news stations that reported it or is it just seasonal as stated in Frontier's own press release (which is seemingly corroborated by the rest of the website)?
^ From your link to the story on Lambert's website:
Non-stop service to JAX has been a priority for STL, as it is a new market not previously served. With this addition, passengers will now have five year-round destinations from STL to Florida on multiple airlines, including Miami (MIA), Fort Lauderdale (FLL), Orlando (MCO), Tampa (TPA) and Fort Myers (RSW) and four seasonal destinations from STL to Florida, including Panama City (ECP), Pensacola (PNS), West Palm Beach (PBI) and Jacksonville (JAX).
Looks like it's been corrected to seasonal service.
Must've been corrected since, because it definitely said it was year-round a few hours ago, unless I'm going crazy.
^I am pretty sure it said seasonal on there when I saw it originally. Not that it really matters at this point either way, haha.
You're right in that it doesn't matter at this point, but I checked the Lambert source originally because it was being used as the reference for the Wiki page's Frontier passenger destinations list, where JAX was still listed as a year-round destination. That's where all the confusion stemmed from haha.

In other news, the Freightway's 2019 project summary is out. New for this year is a project list that shows only the project overviews contained in the full report. Doesn't seem like many of the cargo projects intended for Lambert have received funding yet, just the Taxiway V reconstruction that was finished last year and apparently Eva Ave. north of the airport is under construction (or about to be).
FlySTL - Moody’s Upgrades STL Airport Bonds to A2, Outlook Stable
The upgrade was further bolstered by rapid growth in connecting enplanements, new routes and increased flight frequencies and growth in passenger seats to the market. FY2017 CPE for STL was $11.10, down from $11.89 in FY2016, or a decrease of 6.6 percent. Final FY2018 CPE statistics are still pending, but the Airport initially set the rate at $9.90.
https://www.flystl.com/newsroom/stl-new ... ook-stable
St. Louis airport's growth fuels upgrade


https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/st-louis ... ls-upgrade
matguy70 wrote:
Thu Aug 09, 2018 5:02 pm
St. Louis airport's growth fuels upgrade


https://www.bondbuyer.com/news/st-louis ... ls-upgrade
I can't read this because I don't subscribe. Does it say anything different than the post right before yours?
Basically just talked about privatization efforts and also the $50 million in general obligation borrowing that the airport received voter approval for.

Full text:
CHICAGO – St. Louis received a double dose of positive news this week with voter approval for $50 million general obligation borrowing and an airport upgrade as it explores a privatization.

[Stuff about bond rating increase basically identical to official airport press release]

The upgrade follows a similar move by Fitch late last year and comes as the city is advancing plans to privatize the airport under the federal pilot program.

“This credit upgrade shows the continuing confidence that Moody’s has in our management team at St. Louis Lambert International Airport,” city Comptroller Darlene Green said in a statement. “The airport is in a strong financial position showing nearly three years of passenger growth, three credit upgrades and added domestic and international flights.”

Green has cited the airport’s stronger operations and positive credit momentum in her opposition to the privation plans.

She voted against the hiring in June of a 16-member advisory team when it came before the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. The latest upgrade adds further evidence to her argument, said Green’s spokesman Tyson Pruitt. The airport is owned by the city and operated by an airport authority.

The initial Moody’s report does not address the lease plans. Fitch said it “will continue to monitor the situation for any potential credit implications.”

The city’s advisory working group held its first meeting this week with its consultants and advisors. The team has a mix of city ties and experience with public-private partnerships, the airport sector and other areas. Critics have charged the review process is slanted toward privatization based on some of the firms on the team and an arrangement to pay fees only if a deal is brokered.

The city began considering a lease under Mayor Lyda Krewson’s predecessor, Francis Slay, in March 2017 as a means to generate private investment in the airfield and money for the city government. Slay has joined one of the firms that considering a bid should the airport move forward.

The Federal Aviation Administration accepted the application and the city established a selection committee in September and then launched a selection process for advisors.

The airport bonds would be retired under a lease deal. Fitch rates them at A-minus and S&P Global Ratings has them at A-minus.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the GO borrowing, which does not require a tax hike. The city’s GO ratings have deteriorated in recent years which Green has called a “wake-up call” for city leaders to limit their use of city tax dollars and the city's credit to promote special interest projects.

Moody’s this spring lowered the city’s GOs one notch to Baa1 from A3. It also downgraded the city in 2015, 2016, and 2017. S&P rates the city at A-plus and stable. Fitch rates it at A-minus. It lowered the outlook to negative in May.

The city's overall prospects do factor into the airport rating.

“Over the longer term, we expect the metro area economy will underperform the rest of the nation and constrain growth,” Moody’s wrote. [Ouch]

Any final agreement with a private operator would require approval from the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, the Board of Aldermen, the FAA, and a majority of the airlines that operate at Lambert. The process is estimated to take between one and three years.

The FAA program allows for private operation of airports that have received federal funding. Under the program, the city could lease the airport and its operations but would retain ownership rights.

The program was launched in 1996 allowing airports to enter into long-term operating leases or pursue the sale of a facility to a private firm. The 2012 Reauthorization Act increased the number of airports than can participate to 10 from five but there have been few takers.

St. Louis is the only U.S. hub airport currently seeking a slot. Only two airports have been privatized since the law was enacted, and one of them, Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, N.Y., reverted to public ownership after seven years.

The FAA approved the privatization of Puerto Rico's Luís Muñoz Marín International in 2013 and it remains in the program. Aside from St. Louis, there are only two county airports in in Florida and New York currently seeking slots, according to the program’s website.
Nonstop flights from STL to Punta Cana are showing up on Frontier now. 3x weekly starting in January. A320

Also, West Palm Beach 3x weekly, starting November 15. A319
Sun Country has expanded their schedule and STL has survived - for now. Good to see
13 minute interview with Rhonda.

CPE now under $10 (which is what you want to be under) to $9.90 and should continue to drop.
Lots of other financial talk.

Talked about how they weren't getting the outside money for incentives like other airports for TATL flights. Within the last year the Economic Development Partnership has decided to help pay for some incentives going forward (starting with WOW). There is some background on getting the WOW service.

Talked cargo a little bit.

I wouldn't say it was super exciting and I would have asked different questions, but if you want to listen the link is below

https://kmox.radio.com/media/audio-chan ... niebruegge
Finished up my load factor spreadsheet for May (Feb for Intl).

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/ ... sp=sharing

Notes

Montego Bay and Puerto Vallarta were listed at 100% full for February on Swift.

Routes over 90% for May combined (unless otherwise listed).

G4
Jacksonville
Las Vegas
St. Pete
Orlando (outbound)
Punta Gorda (outbound)

UA
All routes except Houston were over 90% outbound.

AS
Portland both ways and then was cut halfway thru the month. :spin:

F9
Denver
Las Vegas
Fort Myers (inbound)
Tampa (inbound)
Orland (outbound)

WN
Cancun
Cleveland
Columbus
Fort Myers (inbound)
Milwaukee
Nashville
LGA (outbound)
OAK
OKC (inbound)
Orlando
Panama City
PIT
Portland (both but outbound was over 95%)
Raleigh (outbound)
Sacramento (94% both ways)
San Diego
SFO
SEA (outbound)
Tampa
Tulsa (inbound)
DCA (outbound)
Wichita (inbound)

AA and DL
none

Good to see WN had pretty full flights all month. Was happy to see Wichita and Tulsa on the list. Des Moines barely missed it at 89/87.
So Delta has cancelled their PIT-Paris route now that BA is starting to London. Losing a route that you weren't paying incentives on to gain one you are paying a pretty good chunk of change for might not be the best strategy. It is always interesting to see how the incentive game works out. Maybe Delta would have left even if BA wasn't announced but I thought it was noteworthy.
Very interesting...

Too bad Delta can't throw that flight our way, no?

Just booked another 3 leg (each way) RT ticket to Europe via Delta. Too bad it couldn't be a one or two leg journey :)

Fingers crossed for more options soon...

Jeff
Delta's service was summer only while British Airways is going to be year round?

The figures.

2017(767): 131 pax avg per flight ~58% full
2016(757): 115 pax avg. per flight ~68% full
2015(757): 122.2 pax avg per flight ~ 73% full
2014(757): 132.1 pax avg per flight ~ 78.6% full
2013(757): 131.2 pax avg per flight. ~ 78% full

Top take always for me.

1. Aer Lingus to Pitt isn't going to happen.
2. Pitt can't handle 3 carriers. I can see Condor potentially leaving once BA comes.
3. KC and STL are filling our Iceland flights to roughly the same levels that Pitt was filling its Paris flight(before Condor and WOW came in).
ldai_phs wrote:
Wed Aug 22, 2018 5:29 pm
Delta's service was summer only while British Airways is going to be year round?

The figures.

2017(767): 131 pax avg per flight ~58% full
2016(757): 115 pax avg. per flight ~68% full
2015(757): 122.2 pax avg per flight ~ 73% full
2014(757): 132.1 pax avg per flight ~ 78.6% full
2013(757): 131.2 pax avg per flight. ~ 78% full

Top take always for me.

1. Aer Lingus to Pitt isn't going to happen.
2. Pitt can't handle 3 carriers. I can see Condor potentially leaving once BA comes.
3. KC and STL are filling our Iceland flights to roughly the same levels that Pitt was filling its Paris flight(before Condor and WOW came in).
Do you by chance have links to numbers for MCI/STL Iceland numbers. I saw MCI is around 72% loads on Icelandair so far. I haven't seen any numbers for STL yet.
Also, Delta is running a one off to Madison, WI for the epic conference. Outbound this upcoming Sunday inbound the following Thursday.