Southwest adds more frequent flights from Lambert Airport

Slowly but surely, Lambert is looking like a hub airport again

Michael Calhoun
December 11, 2019 - 12:29 pm

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) -- Southwest Airlines expects the Boeing 737 MAX to be back in service by next summer, which means it plans to have more planes available to add more direct flights to St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.

Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge says Southwest will increase how frequently it flies from here to major cities, jumping up to five flights a day to Boston, seven times a day to Denver, and ten daily flights to Chicago.

Other cities getting additional flights to and from St. Louis in this new schedule include Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Columbus, Dallas, Ft. Lauderdale, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and more.

These new flight options take off on June 7, 2020.

"Everybody loves the fact that we have non-stop cities and they're continuing to grow, but they always say 'gee I wish I had more options throughout the day. I really don't like to go at 6 a.m. or 4 p.m.,'" Hamm-Niebruegge tells KMOX News. "What this schedule is doing is bringing more of those options in for people."

She says one-third of Southwest's flyers to St. Louis now are connecting through.

"These markets clearly are showing that they're working with that connecting traffic, because there's not enough local market to put in these number of frequencies on a daily basis," she said. "They're relying on us to be that connecting market across the Midwest, which is terrific."

More airport-bound passengers also means more concessions revenue for Lambert.

Southwest's expansion of St. Louis as a connecting "hub" (although it doesn't use that language) allows it to focus more on local business travelers at Chicago-Midway.

MDW went from 201 weekday Southwest flights in January 2019 to 191 flights scheduled for January 2020. STL, meantime, went from 108 a year ago to 110 starting next month.

Both expect an increase by next summer, thanks to the predicted return of the MAX.

Hamm-Niebruegge doesn't expect this latest Southwest growth spurt to require many new gates in Concourse E / the former Concourse D because most new flights will depart at off-peak times.

By next summer, she expects St. Louisans will be able to hop on about 270 daily flights direct to 76 destinations, 51 of those cities via Southwest.