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Southwest Celebrates 30 Years at Lambert

 

Ribbon cutting for the first Southwest Airlines' flight out of Lambert-St. Louis. (upper left)  Southwest's 30th birthday party celebration. (upper right)  Southwest airliner arriving this morning at Lambert. (bottom)

Southwest celebrates 30 years after it began service at Lambert on St. Patrick's Day in 1985.  Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, was joined by several St. Louis area leaders for an inaugural ribbon cutting ceremony at their single gate.  Southwest's initial service out of St. Louis consisted of 19 flights a day to Chicago, Houston, Kansas City, and New Orleans.  Over the past 30 years, Southwest Airlines has become Lambert's biggest airline, operating nearly 100 flights a day to 36 destinations.

Southwest Airlines' St. Louis team celebrated by having a 30th birthday party today at Lambert, as shown in the top right photo.  Employees enjoyed food, beverages, small carnival games, and a huge celebratory custom cake.

Congratulations Southwest!

Wet Paint: Lambert Photo of the Week

 
Lambert Airfield Maintenance repaints an airfield roadway sign in the warm weather.

We got a taste of spring weather in STL this week, and it felt amazing!  Our Airfield Maintenance crews wasted no time in starting projects that were held-off by the winter weather.  On Thursday, we caught Airfield Maintenance repainting one of Lambert’s airfield vehicle roadway stop signs using a special sprayer. This type of roadway marking is not intended for aircraft, but for the many other  automobiles that traverse the airfield.  Signage in high frequency areas like these are to encourage vehicle safety and alertness while maneuvering around aircraft, and each other. The location of this project was just outside of the A Concourse.

Dreamliner at Dusk: Lambert Photo of the Week

American Airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner lands at Lambert Airport in view of Terminal 1. 

We’ve had a lot of excited visitors and staff who have spotted American Airlines’ brand new Boeing 787 Dreamliner making several surprise visits to Lambert this week.  This is the first Dreamliner for American Airlines, and it has been making brief stops into Lambert while performing a series of test runs in preparation for its debut passenger flight on May 7 from Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) to Chicago (ORD).  This aircraft will start flying daily between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Beijing (PEK) on June 2, and begin flights between Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) and Buenos Aires (EZE) on June 4.  With a wingspan of nearly 200 feet (the length of four semi-trucks parked end-to-end), this massive 242 passenger aircraft has been quite a sight to see!


Snow Showers: Lambert Photo of the Week

A Delta jetliner is deiced during Thursday’s winter snowfall.

Thursday morning, St. Louis was enveloped in beautiful snow flurries that lasted into the afternoon.  People in the region were all bundled-up trying to stay warm and dry, and so were our planes here at Lambert! So, how DOES a giant aircraft stay warm and dry in winter weather?  With a special deicing shower!  To cover an entire jetliner quickly it requires 2-3 people at time, each on specialized hydraulic lifts.  The spray is pressurized and heated, which causes billowing clouds of white steam as the hot spray hits the frozen air.  The liquid itself is a dark orange color, which demarcates well on the aircraft. Depending on your view from the terminals, you may be able to catch a glimpse of this process next time you fly on a snowy day!

Under Wing: Lambert Photo of the Week

Two crew members fuel this American Eagle jet in freezing weather.

St. Louis has been extra cold and snowy this week with temperatures plummeting into the single digits. Here at Lambert we’ve got hundreds of incredible crew members who are out in the elements every day keeping our planes coming and going safely.  Next time you’re flying, take a look out our terminal windows and watch these teams work.  It’s fascinating! We spotted these two crew members bundled-up for the winter weather inspecting the fuel pump of an outbound American Eagle jetliner.  Did you know that most passenger jets fuel-up through the wing?  These under wing workers wear reflective gear and vivid, fluorescent vests to remain highly visible in varying weather conditions.  We’ve got some great people taking care of our thousands of travelers each day, and whatever the weather, these crews are having a great time doing what they love.

 

Surprise Trip: Lambert Photo of the Week

Brenda Jones (center) accepting her Catch Us Giving prize of two airline tickets. With Michelle Hagan (left) and Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge (right). 

We have thousands of team members who give their all every day to provide our guests with the very best Lambert experience.  Each year, the public has the opportunity to nominate Lambert employees for the annual Catch Us Giving Awards for exceptional customer service.  This week, Brenda Jones of HMSHost won two free airline tickets, presented by Air Choice One representative Michelle Hagan, and Lambert Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.  We just love how excited Brenda was to win!  And she deserved it.  Have YOU had an awesome customer service experience here at Lambert?  Tell us!  Just fill out a Catch Us Giving comment card located throughout the terminals.

Lambert Honors TSA Security Officer as Ambassador of the Year

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport recognized its customer service Ambassador of the Year and honored dozens of other employees who have been “caught” giving great customer service in 2014.                                                               

The Ambassador of the Year is Dorothy Lathrop, a Supervisor Transportation Security Officer (STSO) for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). She was a Catch Us Giving winner in August after helping to locate several soldiers in the C Concourse who were about to miss their bus to Fort Leonard Wood. Once she found them in the concourse, she urged them to leave immediately to make the bus so they could avoid any risk of discipline. In the end, she also covered their restaurant tabs totaling more than $70.                                                   

“Dorothy demonstrated empathy and went well beyond her scope of work to help out these young men who, no doubt, were grateful for her kindness and concern,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “We have many other airport employees who make a daily commitment to excellent customer service for our passengers which builds a positive and lasting impression for Lambert and the St. Louis region.”

“I sincerely applaud Dorothy’s generous act of taking care of our servicemen,” said Bill Switzer, Federal Security Director for Missouri. “Her very thoughtful and sincere actions were in keeping with her convictions of always doing the right thing.”

The Catch Us Giving Annual Awards Celebration honored all the customer service nominees for 2014. More than 170 employees of Lambert and its Airport partners, tenants and airlines received nominations.

Employees are nominated, or “caught,” by customers, colleagues or their supervisors for superior customer service moments.  Lambert received more than 500 Catch Us Giving nominations in 2014. The Catch Us Giving Committee, consisting of representatives from major Lambert tenants, airlines and service providers, elects two monthly winners, who are then eligible for the Ambassador of the Year award.

Lambert’s Catch Us Giving customer service program is now in its 6th year. The mission of the program is to unify the Airport Authority, tenants, contractors, airline employees and other partners in giving great customer service to the millions of travelers and visitors who come through the Airport each year. Catch Us Giving receives tremendous support from the business community.  The event’s prime sponsors are Air Choice One, Fun Jet Vacations, the Regional Business Council, Southwest Airlines, and U.S. Bank. Other sponsors include ABM, Hudson, HMSHost, and Inmotion Entertainment.

Window Watch: Lambert Photo of the Week

Brothers Ashton and Aiden are glued to the window watching planes come and go at Lambert on Friday.

It’s become a cliche kind of pic, a child glued to the window watching planes come and go. Now double that and you have the scene in Terminal 2 on Friday when 16-month-old Ashton and his 4-year old brother, Aiden, were watching all the fun stuff on the ramp at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. Both were wowed by the small planes and the big planes. Aiden just wanted to see if his plane was the one landing. They were headed to San Francisco with their family on Southwest Airlines. We love it when we see others take in the the wonder of aiports and flying. If it means we need a little extra window cleaner, all the better. We know in th end, its left a great impression. For years to come.

Lambert Launches Strategic Plan after Major Transformation Campaigns

Lambert-St. Louis International Airport unveiled a 5-year strategic plan to build on the momentum of several transformational campaigns that have improved airport facilities, improved customer services and strengthened air service over the last several years. Visit www.lambertexperience.com to see the full story.

 

Lambert’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan, first made public before the St. Louis Airport Commission meeting Feb. 4, is built on a foundation for operational excellence with four core objectives:

·       Sustain and grow passenger air service

·       Strengthen financial stability

·       Create a positive and lasting impression for the region

·       Generate economic development

Each of the core objectives are linked to key metrics for success. Some of the metrics include lowering cost per enplaned passenger, growing non-aeronautical revenues, increasing the number of non-stop markets, improving airport satisfaction scores, increasing cargo revenues and generating more revenue from underutilized land assets. For the full strategic report, click here.

 “This is an exciting story of change, of progress and a glimpse of what the future holds for Lambert-St. Louis International Airport,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge. “This is the Airport’s first strategic plan in more than two decades that goes beyond expansion projects or major airport construction projects. This is about revenue growth, financial stability and helping to empower our region for economic success.”

The Airport’s strategic plan was developed with the collaboration of the St. Louis business community with support by Civic Progress and the Regional Business Council.  The road map fits St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's vision of growing the region's economic health and capitalizing on one of its greatest assets.  

A community advisory group, consisting of business and regional leaders, helped shape the plan along with the Airport’s key management team and several members of the St. Louis Airport Commission. The plan was facilitated by Collaborative Strategies.  

Lambert’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan is being launched following the just-completed $70 million Airport Experience Program. Airport Experience renovations, which began in 2008, focused on major interior and operational improvements to Terminal 1, Concourses A & C, as well as new airport signage on roadways leading to both Terminals 1 and 2.  The final project in the program was completed in December 2014 with the installation of a new copper roof for Terminal 1, replacing the original 1956 copper roof that was beyond repair. Another $30 million was invested in facilities as part of the recovery from the 2011 tornado. Another $50 million was invested in   a more efficient and secure outbound baggage system, which made its debut in both terminals in 2014. The transformation of terminals and concourses can be seen at www.lambertexperience.com

In addition to the major makeover of airport facilities, the Airport has also been successful in responding to and overcoming major airline flight reductions, expanding retail and restaurant offerings, building new business and community partnerships, and creating an art and culture program that helps create a more welcoming gateway for 13 million passengers and visitors every year.    

Wing Tip: Lambert Photo of the Week

Southwest Airlines flight 1625 from Los Angeles circles just south of St. Louis's Tower Grove Park before landing at Lambert on January 30.

It's one of the fascinating experiences of flying, getting the window seat for an aerial view of the city you know so well from the ground.  Descending down from the clouds, after flying at 30,000 ft. plus in the air, pilots maneuver the aircraft to line up the plane for its designated runway. Whether the aircraft circles in or makes a straight shot toward the runway, these are the fun few minutes passengers get to spot familiar highways, parks, neighborhoods and other landmarks. In 2014, airline pilots made their final approach into Lambert-St. Louis International Airport 80,581 times. That's an average of 220 per day and more than 250 during peak summer travel months. Southwest Airlines carried the most passengers again this year, serving 6.2 million travelers. It took 29,918 final approaches to pull that off. And another  29,918 takeoffs, too. 

Airport Improvements

Free Cell Phone Lots

Avoid parking fees the next time you pick up a passenger. Lambert provides free waiting zones for motorists near each terminal.

Learn More »

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