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Thread: The Future for STL.

  1. #1
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    Default The Future for STL.

    Hey everyone.

    Me being a fequent traveler out of STL, and I am sure we have other STLouisans around on the board who hopefully are just as concerned as me.

    What should happen if AA goes down or takes out a hub of STL? I have been hearing facts that if AA were to shut down a hub STL will be the first to go. Now..Personally, I wouldn't mind because I swear to god..If I see ONE MORE MD-80 I am gonna shout! But getting off-topic now....I am basically just wondering about STL. I am seeing sooo mnay routes being replaced with smaller aircrafts.

    For example for each airline doing what at STL.
    -AA has replaced ALOT of 757's flights with MD-80(great, more MD-80's.) and replacing most of Midwest to Midwest flights reaching as far as OMA west and JAX East. So they are downsizing BIG!

    -Southwest has cut back on two non-stop service from STL which was FLL and IND. IND they stopped service overall, and FLL we now have to stop somewhere in florida or Change Planes.

    -Continental used to fly 737's to IAH, and CLE, but now they have replaced it all with regional jets with non-stop flights to EWR from STL, who the HELL WOULD WANNA FLY A ERJ-145 STL-EWR? Thats waay to long!! and NUTS.

    Personally here are some RUMORS(Note I said rumors, not facts) and ideas I would love to happen at STL. Should AA only provide non-stop service to DFW and ORD and cut out the HUB.

    -Southwest to add another terminal
    -US Airways possibly come make a hub out of it.
    -Jetblue is rumored to start a STL-JFK service even if AA is in service to STL
    -AirTran may start a couple of service and use STL as the MAIN Midwest Airport.
    -SONG to add some STL-JFK or possibly FLL(seeing as AA only flies MD-80's and SWA doesn't fly STL-FLL N/S

    I don't know. I posted this to hear some facts, rumors, suggestions, comments, stories..that you can add from experience or knowledge, about the future of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.

    Alex.

    PS- One good news I have heard is that Aer Lingus has included STL as possibly airports to add service to.





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    Alex, I would answer this, but it would take pages for me to discuss it. All I can say is rumors are rumors, and you won't see much occur there except maybe a few new players or a few less...nothing special. Saint Louis was only heavy because it had a heavy presence of Ozark, and then Trans World. They are gone, and so are the glory days at STL. As for smaller aircraft, Alex, that is not STL. That is everywhere. It is the trend; and it will remain like that for a long time coming. So sit tight, because it ain't getting any better...

    If AAL leaves, nothing will happen except some filler goop will come in to pick up the O&D slack. Thats it. The airlines can't even afford to run their current hubs. So they aren't going to run out and spend a fortune populating another one. There is no more room to build in STL, and the current expansion W1W program is still far from being complete. One thing at a time.

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    Gee I remember STL as Ozark territory. Loved flying those DC9's

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    Hey wanted to bring thjis up again as someone from airliners.net brought this up and it seems to answer my questions...


    Mayor launches task force to retain American's hub
    Laurie Sybert

    As passengers and flights dwindle at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, St. Louis may be in danger of losing its status as a hub city for American Airlines. Local officials also are concerned about the overall traffic declines at the airport and plan to launch a task force to devise an action plan.




    St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told the Business Journal June 4 that he is launching a public-private task force to develop strategies for maintaining an American hub at Lambert and increasing all air traffic at the airport.



    "We want to do everything we can to accommodate their needs and help them address their issues," Slay said. "The task force itself would look at the airport and its two major airlines and try to come up with ideas in the region to grow air service as the industry stabilizes."



    But the airline industry is performing poorly nationwide, and both American and Southwest Airlines are doing worse in St. Louis than the rest of the nation. In addition, some airline analysts and consultants say airlines need to rethink the hub system and close some hubs if they want to survive.



    "None of our hubs are profitable right now. That's the only information we're comfortable with sharing," said American spokeswoman Julia Bishop-Cross. "American Airlines continues to be committed to its St. Louis hub."



    But airline analysts are not so sure.



    "For American, the question is: Is being No. 2 in Chicago better than being No. 1 in St. Louis? In good times, you want to be both," said Glenn Engel, an airline analyst for Goldman Sachs. "American has the same number of planes as it did three years ago and one extra hub. There are clearly too many hubs."



    "This is just speculation, but if I were in their shoes I would definitely not give up anything in Chicago," said Adam Pilarski, senior vice president of airline consulting company Avitas. "This is where your big competitor lives (United) and if you can get anything there, that's good.



    "St. Louis is not a natural hub for them. It came to them through a creature called TWA. St. Louis does not have a natural feel for American."



    Pilarski said American has a smart group of operations research people who he said would probably be looking into their current hub structure.



    "It doesn't mean you abandon a city, but you can save a lot of money by eliminating a hub," he said. "The likely story is that we will have a modified hub system."



    American has hub operations in Dallas; Raleigh, N.C.; Miami and Chicago, in addition to St. Louis. American acquired the St. Louis hub operation -- its second in the Midwest -- when the company bought TWA in 2001.



    Slay, St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall, Edward Jones managing partner John Bachmann, who also serves on American Airlines' board, and Dick Fleming, Regional Chamber and Growth Association president and chief executive officer, arranged a meeting with American president Gerald Arpey in Dallas last month, shortly after Arpey took over at the airline.



    Slay said Arpey was honest with the St. Louis representatives at the meeting.



    "He said they want St. Louis to be a big part of their future but realistically, it's no secret that the industry and the airline are teetering on the edge and every decision they make has to be about their ability to compete in the future and stay alive," Slay said. "He said he would make no promises to us other than to say that there would be no surprises -- he would keep open lines of communication with us."



    Westfall characterized Arpey as "a bottom-line kind of guy."



    "It was a positive meeting. But, he made it clear that it depends on how the airline industry does. If things don't turn around, obviously American is going to have to make decisions," Westfall said.



    No fly zone
    Engel, of Goldman Sachs, said nationwide most air travel is down in single digits but Southwest traffic nationwide is up in single digits. American announced June 3 that it boarded 7.5 million passengers in May, down 7.6 percent from May 2002.



    American is the largest carrier flying out of Lambert while Southwest is the No. 2 carrier at the airport.



    The number of passengers flying American Airlines at Lambert has declined 17 percent, from 12,063,321 in 2000 to 9,960,427 in 2002. Passengers traveling through Lambert on Southwest declined even more, dropping 18.9 percent from 2000 to 2002, from 1,788,794 to 1,450,662 passengers.



    "Throughout the country there is too much supply and there's clearly too much supply in St. Louis," Engel said.



    Connecting traffic -- like that of American through Lambert -- has declined more than point-to-point traffic like Southwest as seen on a national level, Engel said.



    The numbers of flights at Lambert also have declined. In July 2001, American had 522 scheduled flights at Lambert. That number is projected to fall to 416 in July 2003 -- a decrease of 20 percent. Before Sept. 11, 2001, Southwest had 85 daily non-stop flights to 20 cities. Today, Southwest has 67 non-stops to 19 cities -- a fall of 21 percent.



    "We have had to reduce our service at Lambert because the people of St. Louis are just not flying as much," Ed Stewart, spokesman for Southwest Airlines, said.



    Stewart said the airline is seeing big increases in customer traffic in Baltimore, Florida and California, but he can't explain the dip in St. Louis traffic.



    "I don't know if it's that a lot of businesses are moving away from St. Louis, like Southwestern Bell," he said. "Our infrastructure is there, we have the tickets gates and employees to fly more."



    Ray Neidl, an airlines analyst for Blaylock & Partners, said Southwest may be concentrating its service on the East Coast.



    "They have been aggressively expanding and growing constantly. They are probably putting resources back East because they wanted to grow the operations there when the opportunity arose," Neidl said.



    Engel said the decline in Southwest numbers at Lambert caught him by surprise.



    "I'm a little bit more surprised for Southwest. In contrast to the rest of the industry, they have become less promotional over the past three years. They are not just giving away the seats like other airlines are," he said.



    Expansion still on
    Slay said that despite the downturn in air travel at Lambert, he remains committed to airport expansion.



    "If we were to halt airport expansion right now, we would for sure relegate ourselves to second-class status as a hub," he said. It is important to have a new parallel runway that saves the airlines money with fewer delays and allows for simultaneous landings in bad weather, he said. Westfall agreed.



    "There is some concern in people's minds about whether there is a need for it, but it is as critical as it was before the downturn in the airline industry. And the financing is already in place," he said.



    The $3 billion bond issue approved by St. Louis voters in April is also not in danger with the downturn at Lambert, Slay said.



    "The bond issue is just authorization to issue bonds as needed for ongoing improvements or upgrading to keep this an attractive, safe airport. That money will not be spent until needed," he said.


    [email protected]



    Southwest-I am gonna be honest here. The fact that Southwest is doing bad at STL scares me. And since I read that I began to think about the gates at STL. we have over 12 gates owned by Southwest, and only 3 were in use the time of my departure. Now It may be due to the flkights arrives later or whatever, but it sure wasn't busy!!! I will check it out again when we land in STL and see whats with this again...

    American- If American makes STL a ERJ or CRJ hub I am gonna be MAD!!! I do not want AA ruining the pride and status STL once had with TWA. I used to brag to people that thanks to TWA we had 747, and L-1011 and those types at STL, now in 5 years I am gonna say well, all we have are Rj's planes that fly to MCI and ORD, and JAX(this is current STL-JAX IS operated by American Eagle.) But, it may be good if AA leaves STL with only three departures to ORD, DFW, and MIA. This opens up gates for the other low cost airlines that I would love to see at STL, AirTran with the 737 or A320 or 717-200, and JB A320 with the new aircrafts they ordered, plus ATA 737-800 and 753, etc etc, plus see other majors expand more at STL.

    So anyone may comment on this. But being a Southwest fan, if Southwest pulls out of STL because of it being unsuccesful or really really lowers the non-stop flights at STL I am gonan cry....


    Alex.

    PS- I am happy and PROUD to announce that Delta has started to serve STL with Boeing 737-200. A nice change from the usual MD-88's we get here EVERYDAY. The 737-200 serves ATL to/from like the MD-88's do.





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    You know what's the problem with STL???

    Maybe STL is overserved, the population served by the airport is too small for the airport. Downsizing is not nuts at all.

    But then comes the question: What happens if AA closes its hub at STL???

    It'll put an unbearable strain to the ORD hub, with its natural consequences (delays, overbookings, air traffic congestion, etc.)

    The problem at STL, with the AA hub question is too complex for me, a simple amateur, to propose a solution, but I'm confident the experts will come up with something good and fair.


    A Colombian guy moved by the winds of fate to St. Louis, MO

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    Plain and simple, STL worked perfectly for TW and OZ, but with AA having hubs so close and being in a particularly vulnerable position, STL will most likely see some downsizing. Now for WN, that is pretty surprising, i thought STL was one of WN's stronger markets, but from what the press release says, it doesnt seem that way. The nail was hit on the head: STL metro does not have the O&D market that is provided now and is vastly overserved in that perspective. I would love to see STL back in its glory days as one of the most innovative and busiest hubs in the world, but i would also love to see Braniff taking up all 3 terminals at MCI. Simply put, the glory days of aviation are on hold, and who knows what the future may bring, hell, ATL may see nothing but regional jets in 10 years!! Who knows what could happen? (either that or AA will buy a bunch of 744s and fly them MCI-STL-JFK, i'll let you pick)
    Packin more nuts than Delta Airlines
    -PT-

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    Quote Originally Posted by MCIFLYR
    Plain and simple, STL worked perfectly for TW and OZ, but with AA having hubs so close and being in a particularly vulnerable position, STL will most likely see some downsizing. Now for WN, that is pretty surprising, i thought STL was one of WN's stronger markets, but from what the press release says, it doesnt seem that way. The nail was hit on the head: STL metro does not have the O&D market that is provided now and is vastly overserved in that perspective. I would love to see STL back in its glory days as one of the most innovative and busiest hubs in the world, but i would also love to see Braniff taking up all 3 terminals at MCI. Simply put, the glory days of aviation are on hold, and who knows what the future may bring, hell, ATL may see nothing but regional jets in 10 years!! Who knows what could happen? (either that or AA will buy a bunch of 744s and fly them MCI-STL-JFK, i'll let you pick)
    I pick ATL becoming a regional jet operation then AA flying 744's MCI-STL-JFK. If you track the disscusions at airliners.net they are talking that WN is completly disatisfied with STL and MAY pull out of STL all together. WN is complaingin of major congestion which seriously hurts WN turn aroudn times and they want to avoid it all together even if it means pulling out of STL....... I DON'T WANNA SEE SWA GO!!!!



    Alex.





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    bringing this back up again......





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