Business is taking off at Lambert Airport

ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – Lambert-St. Louis International Airport saw just under 14 million people travel through the facility last year, making 2016 its best year since 2008.

Airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge is busy but upbeat with higher sales numbers and new construction for additional gates.

“We had 1.2 million more passengers last year; that is ten percent growth, which is just phenomenal!” she said.

That includes local customers and connecting customers that came back. The airport has added new markets and flights, plus its growth was one of the best in the country.

“We were in the top 10 cities for growth this year,” Hamm-Niebruegge said. “It’s a pretty good spot to be in. We are excited about that both in number of passengers but also seats out of here.”

Southwest increased about four percent year-over-year and the carriers in Terminal One grew about 2.7 percent.

“I think we have seen a stronger business climate, I do think we see families traveling more with the economy getting a little better, and the convention traffic has been fabulous this last year,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.

She believes showcasing the value of St. Louis and where it’s located is a key.

“I think our year-end numbers are strong, to see that continue you need to see both local markets grow as well as connecting markets to see if more can be added,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.

Last May, the airport renovated two gates that Southwest added and now more construction. A section that started to slow in 2003 and has been dormant since 2009, will be back up and running come june with two new seasonal flights to Charleston, South Carolina and Pensacola, plus an increase in daily flights to Boston, Nashville, San Diego and Cleveland.

“It can house up to four gates, but it doesn’t mean Southwest is going to take it all,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.