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View Poll Results: Which city has the best airline hub?
Dallas/Ft. Worth Int'l 11 26.19%
Chicago O'Hare 15 35.71%
Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson 8 19.05%
Denver Int'l Airport 8 19.05%
Voters: 42. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 05-18-2007, 07:51 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
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The STL airport was not built in the best location either. It's no problem for me to get there, but people living in South County as well as across the river into Illinois have a hard time getting there. The STL airport is basically located in the northwest suburbs of St. Louis County between I-70 to the south, I-170 to the east, I-270 to the north and then to the west of the airport where it curves south to meet I-70. MCI is in a terrible location. It's like 30 miles north of Kansas City on I-29 or something. Cleveland's airport also is not in the best area either. East Clevelanders can't get there in less than 30 minutes. Oh well. It's always going to be a problem for some people to get there. The worst possible location for a big airport is right smack dab in the middle of a city....it would certainly not help the city's population grow that's for sure.
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Old 05-18-2007, 08:47 PM
 
609 posts, read 2,721,070 times
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I miss the days of TWA also. Too bad Carl Ichan helped to run the airline into the ground. Their focus on international operations without a true domestic hub to feed it also hurt TWA in the end.
ST. Louis was a great hub in its heyday. But then again, St. Louis even back in the 1980's and early 90's was still a big player among american cities. THe last decade hasnt been kind to St. Louis. Losing the TWA hub, halving the American hub, loss of fortune 500 companies, etc. It was a great connecting hub for TWA, and to those who think that you need to have O/D traffic to make hubs viable, just look south to Memphis, where Northwest is hubbed. Memphis barely clears a 1 million people in its metro, yet it is a major hub for NWA. St. Louis can be a hub again, but American needs to be healthy...and they need to maximize chicago before they can spill flights to STL.
But I remember when STL was still a major American hub, it was nice, you had 3 mid continent hubs to choose from when going on standby flights to whatever destination you needed to get to. It provided great flexibility.

Oh well, hopefully American can sustain profitability and eventually down the road build up the St. Louis hub if O'Hare cannot be expanded that much further.
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:07 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,901,869 times
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[quote=metroplex2003;739508]I miss the days of TWA also. Too bad Carl Ichan helped to run the airline into the ground. Their focus on international operations without a true domestic hub to feed it also hurt TWA in the end.
ST. Louis was a great hub in its heyday. But then again, St. Louis even back in the 1980's and early 90's was still a big player among american cities. THe last decade hasnt been kind to St. Louis. Losing the TWA hub, halving the American hub, loss of fortune 500 companies, etc. It was a great connecting hub for TWA, and to those who think that you need to have O/D traffic to make hubs viable, just look south to Memphis, where Northwest is hubbed. Memphis barely clears a 1 million people in its metro, yet it is a major hub for NWA. St. Louis can be a hub again, but American needs to be healthy...and they need to maximize chicago before they can spill flights to STL.
But I remember when STL was still a major American hub, it was nice, you had 3 mid continent hubs to choose from when going on standby flights to whatever destination you needed to get to. It provided great flexibility.

St. Louis as far as i'm concerned if I were a director of an airline would be my dream hub for an airline. THe location is absolutely perfect for a connecting city, even better than Memphis because we are just east of the geographic center of the country and our metro area is 3 million people. Just look at how much cargo passes through STL from all points of the country and probably vacationers too in their cars. I see more out-of-state plates in Missouri than in any other state in the U.S. You name a state, I've seen the plate. lol i like the sound of that hahahaha. I've seen everything from Alaska to Florida to Maine. Only license plate I haven't seen is Hawaii's. I-64, I-70 and I-44, I-55, and I-24 via I-57 and the Avenue of the Saints all give us a major crossroads like Indianapolis and connect us efficiently to any point in the lower 48. Air traffic honestly I believe would be just as convenient. We are the perfect connecting point in my opinion for any point the country, and Indianapolis ain't half-bad either just because of its central location. Why no other airline has gone for St. Louis since AA cut us back I do not know.
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:17 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,901,869 times
Reputation: 660
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
I miss the days of TWA also. Too bad Carl Ichan helped to run the airline into the ground. Their focus on international operations without a true domestic hub to feed it also hurt TWA in the end.
ST. Louis was a great hub in its heyday. But then again, St. Louis even back in the 1980's and early 90's was still a big player among american cities. THe last decade hasnt been kind to St. Louis. Losing the TWA hub, halving the American hub, loss of fortune 500 companies, etc. It was a great connecting hub for TWA, and to those who think that you need to have O/D traffic to make hubs viable, just look south to Memphis, where Northwest is hubbed. Memphis barely clears a 1 million people in its metro, yet it is a major hub for NWA. St. Louis can be a hub again, but American needs to be healthy...and they need to maximize chicago before they can spill flights to STL.
But I remember when STL was still a major American hub, it was nice, you had 3 mid continent hubs to choose from when going on standby flights to whatever destination you needed to get to. It provided great flexibility.

Oh well, hopefully American can sustain profitability and eventually down the road build up the St. Louis hub if O'Hare cannot be expanded that much further.
For me I miss it especially for several reasons. Number one, TWA is one of the most important airlines in history. THey pioneered so many things both within America and out of it more than any other airline I'd say except Pan Am. TWA was one of the pioneers and greats of airlines in aviation history. Also, what I miss about it is having international connections and also the 747s and Lockheed L-1011 Tristars we used to get. Now the biggest thing we get is a 757...well...there is the cargo A-300 and DC-10 from Fed-Ex but hardly anybody sees those because they leave around practically midnight or like at 5 in the morning before hardly anyone's up. I've got memories of playing in my backyard as a little kid and watching these giant jumbos doing these sharp turns towards the airport...just spectacular. Brings tears to my eyes just talking about it. So I'll stop now
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Old 05-18-2007, 09:57 PM
 
609 posts, read 2,721,070 times
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Yes, I used to live in St. Louis and I remember the days of TWA. Heck, I remember the days when St. Louis housed both TWA and Ozark. I am from the Midwest originally. It's amazing that Lambert used to get those TWA 747's going to Europe and Hawaii. As a connector airport, however, it wasnt the most efficient. It wasnt until the end of TWA that they finally made the concourse B connector to Concourse C without having to leave security. Also, getting from gate 35 in C in gate D17 proved to be a big chore as well, especially with connection times of 30-45 min.
However, the airport was buzzing and humming along. People used St. Louis to connect to Europe, Mexico, Hawaii.
But it all came to an end when TWA just couldnt compete with Ichan's ticketing program...where he took a share of TWA profits.
FLight 800 really did TWA in as well.
It's actually amazing that American even bought TWA, since no one else was interested.
But the good news is that American didnt shut down the St. Louis hub like Delta shut down the DFW hub. This means that St. Louis could be built up in the future if O'Hare maxes out. DFW is far enough away that St. Louis mainly competes with O'Hare.
So the financial health of American is imperative to ST. louis.

Now having said that, if Air Tran fails in its bid for Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines, then perhaps they may look to St. Louis to start more mid-continent connections. Obviously buying Midwest would be easier than starting a brand new hub from scratch, but with a weakened American and SOuthwest focusing on the Dallas Love Field's soon to be independence, it might give Air Tran a window in St. LOuis if its Midwest bid fails.

We'll see...but then again, American may respond quickly to Air Tran with flights of its own, which thus stimulates air traffic at Lambert.

Now dont get me wrong, I'm all for American's success as well...afterall, the headquarters of American is in my town, DFW< but I would also like to see St. Louis succeed as well. It's a great city, it's totally underrated as a visitor destination (had many unique neighborhoods that other cities just dont have)...the city has character...but it starts with Lambert field.
I wish they would have found funding before TWA went under to construct a brand new terminal. THey had talked a/b it when TWA signed on for the expansion...a midfield terminal...too bad the events of 2001 changed all that.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:02 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,901,869 times
Reputation: 660
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
Yes, I used to live in St. Louis and I remember the days of TWA. Heck, I remember the days when St. Louis housed both TWA and Ozark. I am from the Midwest originally. It's amazing that Lambert used to get those TWA 747's going to Europe and Hawaii. As a connector airport, however, it wasnt the most efficient. It wasnt until the end of TWA that they finally made the concourse B connector to Concourse C without having to leave security. Also, getting from gate 35 in C in gate D17 proved to be a big chore as well, especially with connection times of 30-45 min.
However, the airport was buzzing and humming along. People used St. Louis to connect to Europe, Mexico, Hawaii.
But it all came to an end when TWA just couldnt compete with Ichan's ticketing program...where he took a share of TWA profits.
FLight 800 really did TWA in as well.
It's actually amazing that American even bought TWA, since no one else was interested.
But the good news is that American didnt shut down the St. Louis hub like Delta shut down the DFW hub. This means that St. Louis could be built up in the future if O'Hare maxes out. DFW is far enough away that St. Louis mainly competes with O'Hare.
So the financial health of American is imperative to ST. louis.

Now having said that, if Air Tran fails in its bid for Milwaukee's Midwest Airlines, then perhaps they may look to St. Louis to start more mid-continent connections. Obviously buying Midwest would be easier than starting a brand new hub from scratch, but with a weakened American and SOuthwest focusing on the Dallas Love Field's soon to be independence, it might give Air Tran a window in St. LOuis if its Midwest bid fails.

We'll see...but then again, American may respond quickly to Air Tran with flights of its own, which thus stimulates air traffic at Lambert.

Now dont get me wrong, I'm all for American's success as well...afterall, the headquarters of American is in my town, DFW< but I would also like to see St. Louis succeed as well. It's a great city, it's totally underrated as a visitor destination (had many unique neighborhoods that other cities just dont have)...the city has character...but it starts with Lambert field.
I wish they would have found funding before TWA went under to construct a brand new terminal. THey had talked a/b it when TWA signed on for the expansion...a midfield terminal...too bad the events of 2001 changed all that.

Me too. As long as somebody gives St. Louis something international back. We are too big of a city to be left out of it IMO, but then again Denver gets no international service. The ironic thing here is that with the TWA and Ozark days, Ozark officially ceased to be an airline exactly a month after I was born...it was good for TWA. Icahn seemed to be taking a great step in the right direction for TWA...unfortunately that was the last great step he'd take before literally taking a hammer and hacking as much of the airline to pieces as he could. But i guess ultimately he was a better option than Frank Lorenzo, who killed Eastern and nearly killed Continental and wanted TWA. TWA wouldn't have made it to the '90s if Lorenzo had been in charge.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:12 PM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,901,869 times
Reputation: 660
Metroplex2003, if you're really interested I'm sure you are familiar with the Steve Martin/John Candy 1987 movie "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." Well there is about a 10 minute long scene where you get all these different shots of Lambert in the mid to late '80s and you get to relive the golden days of Lambert and St. Louis for air traffic. Every gate is occupied by a 727 or MD-80, an L-1011 lands over Steve Martin as he crosses a runway (very funny and joyful to this local St. Louisan (me) who spotted there many times). That movie is sacred to me because it is the only way for me to see TWA and St. Louis as they were like in person to me..you know, with motion, sound, and not just frozen pictures. Anyway, yes.....sigh....the good ol' days.
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Old 05-18-2007, 10:18 PM
 
609 posts, read 2,721,070 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf131 View Post
Me too. As long as somebody gives St. Louis something international back. We are too big of a city to be left out of it IMO, but then again Denver gets no international service. The ironic thing here is that with the TWA and Ozark days, Ozark officially ceased to be an airline exactly a month after I was born...it was good for TWA. Icahn seemed to be taking a great step in the right direction for TWA...unfortunately that was the last great step he'd take before literally taking a hammer and hacking as much of the airline to pieces as he could. But i guess ultimately he was a better option than Frank Lorenzo, who killed Eastern and nearly killed Continental and wanted TWA. TWA wouldn't have made it to the '90s if Lorenzo had been in charge.
Yes both alternatives werent good...perhaps Ichan was the lesser of the two evils. But his Caribou program essentially was the last breath for TWA. Denver does get international service I believe. British Airways, Lufthansa, and Mexicana serves Denver not including United's international services.
But Ichan sold off key valuabe international routes of TWA. He also used TWA profits in the late 80's and put them in his own coffers rather than re-investing in the airline. Just think had TWA developed its route network more since it had lots of capital....it could have developed another domestic hub...it could have been American...but instead Ichan didnt reinvest in the airline with the profits he made initially...that's unfortunate.

I do wish American would utilize ST. Louis more, but this ended when Donald Carty left. Carty is more comitted to St. Louis than Arpey is. Having said all that, ST. Louis is still lucky not to have completely lost the American hub. St. Louis is still the 4th largest hub in the American airlines system behind DFW, Chicago, and Miami. But there have been blows to Lambert recently. The FAA determines subsidies to smaller rural communities who would not otherwise be able to support air traffic. B/c in the drop in number of connection possibilities, those subsidies have been switched for rural cities close to St. Louis to be shifted to Cincinatti. St. Louis needs to do what it can to provide feed for American and justify American's existence there. American shouldnt abandon St. Louis as O"hare only has so much room to grow.

St. Louis also needs to promote Air Tran as best as possible.
Southwest does not appear to be growing anymore in St. Louis. So there is a window for Air Tran.

but at the end of the day, it's a vicious cycle...ST. Louis loses American's premier hub status, businesses are more reluctant to relocate...but then again, businesses who left and were feeding American airlines also contributed to the American cut backs....which came first, the chicken or the egg? St. Louis needs to take on a more pro-business climate...this may bring back businesses, bring back high paying fare customers.
It all needs to get itself back on the conventions list...for the longest time America's center didnt have any nearby hotels...St.Louis lost ground to cities like Chicago and Dallas.
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Old 05-19-2007, 12:36 AM
 
Location: St. Louis, MO
3,742 posts, read 6,901,869 times
Reputation: 660
Quote:
Originally Posted by metroplex2003 View Post
Yes both alternatives werent good...perhaps Ichan was the lesser of the two evils. But his Caribou program essentially was the last breath for TWA. Denver does get international service I believe. British Airways, Lufthansa, and Mexicana serves Denver not including United's international services.
But Ichan sold off key valuabe international routes of TWA. He also used TWA profits in the late 80's and put them in his own coffers rather than re-investing in the airline. Just think had TWA developed its route network more since it had lots of capital....it could have developed another domestic hub...it could have been American...but instead Ichan didnt reinvest in the airline with the profits he made initially...that's unfortunate.

I do wish American would utilize ST. Louis more, but this ended when Donald Carty left. Carty is more comitted to St. Louis than Arpey is. Having said all that, ST. Louis is still lucky not to have completely lost the American hub. St. Louis is still the 4th largest hub in the American airlines system behind DFW, Chicago, and Miami. But there have been blows to Lambert recently. The FAA determines subsidies to smaller rural communities who would not otherwise be able to support air traffic. B/c in the drop in number of connection possibilities, those subsidies have been switched for rural cities close to St. Louis to be shifted to Cincinatti. St. Louis needs to do what it can to provide feed for American and justify American's existence there. American shouldnt abandon St. Louis as O"hare only has so much room to grow.

St. Louis also needs to promote Air Tran as best as possible.
Southwest does not appear to be growing anymore in St. Louis. So there is a window for Air Tran.

but at the end of the day, it's a vicious cycle...ST. Louis loses American's premier hub status, businesses are more reluctant to relocate...but then again, businesses who left and were feeding American airlines also contributed to the American cut backs....which came first, the chicken or the egg? St. Louis needs to take on a more pro-business climate...this may bring back businesses, bring back high paying fare customers.
It all needs to get itself back on the conventions list...for the longest time America's center didnt have any nearby hotels...St.Louis lost ground to cities like Chicago and Dallas.

I agree AA would be unwise to abandon St. Louis because honestly St. Louis is AA's best alternative in the Midwest to Chicago and it's location makes it very valuable and its size justifiable.
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Old 05-19-2007, 04:48 AM
 
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It's too bad that Lambert field suffered from the severe cutbacks of the early 2000's airline recession...b/c then Mid America might have actually had a chance and St. Louis could have been one of a handful of cities in the U.S. with two viable commercial airports. But the other thing going against Mid America is location location location. Of the 2.8 million people in the St. Louis MSA, when most of them live west of the Mississippi, it's going to be hard to convince them to drive all the way over well past the river into Illinois.
It's like convincing Omaha people to drive halfway between Omaha and Lincoln to catch a flight when the vast majority of people in the Omaha/Lincoln live closer to the Missouri River and not to Lincoln, NE. They had at one time talked a/b a single regional airport b/t the two cities like DFW and Minneapolis/St. PAul.

The other issue that saddens me a/b the St. Louis situation is that ST. Louis was at one time the #2 city in the Midwest...behind Chicago as a major player. I do feel it's fallen behind the likes of Minneapolis/St. Paul. In 1990, both their area populations were roughly similar. But MSP's growth at their airport (to stay on topic) was a result of the success of NWA (Northwest)...Northwest was lucky enough to get a huge cash infusion by KLM and anti-trust immunity and also one of our nation's first large scale international code-share alliances. I do believe, though not all to do with, but MSP would not be where it is today if it werent for the explosive growth and viability of NWA. It is important to businesses that cities have good reliable air transportation. In addition, MSP area had done a better job at wooing businesses than St. Louis, which did not work together with St. Louis county. I guess a decision must be made for future St. Louis generations...if you get the right management in place, and St. Louis can turn itself around and market itself as a great place to do business, Lambert field I do believe can make a comeback. It's an omnidirectional hub. It can funnel people North-South and East West. If St. Louis can attract more businesses, it can attract more people to move to the area, and therefore attract more O/D traffic. It's loss of many corporations hurt the city.

But all in all, American cut back enough to hurt the airport, but not enough to allow another major player in...pretty smart...similar to the Raleigh/Durham situation....but it's good to have the world's largest carrier with a hub there...and of all the legacy airlines, American was the only one not to declare Ch. 11 bankruptcy. They're the most financially healthy...them and Continental that is. So St. Louis, who has been hurt by shaky airlines in the 80's and 90's may finally have some semblance of stability. Had St. Louis had a more stable airline in the 80's and 90's like AA, who knows, its stagnation may not have been as dramatic...but then again, the city and county politics have been at odds for decades now...so it's mere speculation.
I do believe the addition of Air Tran is a good thing though, because it will force American to be more competitive and to stimulate passenger traveling numbers...the so called "Southwest effect.".
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