ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Lambert International Airport officials announced on Wednesday that the FAA approved the airport’s master plan. That plan maps out proposed improvements to meet the anticipated growth of air travel through 2040.
“We’re very happy they approved the master plan,” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, director at Lambert. “We expected that it would be approved, but it’s always nice to get that final stamp.”
An environmental impact study will be the next step in the process of moving the plan closer to reality.
“In conjunction with the FAA, we’ll be doing an environmental review of the impact of this,” Hamm-Niebruegge said. “While we’re doing that, we’re also negotiating with the airlines.”
She said an agreement with the airlines is essential for the plan to move forward.
One of the main components of the plan combines Terminal 1 and Terminal 2. The combination would allow for one entry point. Hamm-Niebruegge said having a unified checkpoint will make it easier for travelers to navigate and create efficiencies for the airport.
Travelers would also have access to all the retail and concession options.
“I think that is a good idea,” said Jaycelynn Sanders, an airport traveler. “The terminals are too far apart, and it will be a lot faster to get everywhere we need to go.”
Another expected improvement from terminal consolidation is visible in a diagram included in the plan. It shows planes being able to taxi to both sides of the concourse. Hamm-Niebruegge said that the design will provide quick connection times.
There would also be improvements to the entry road system, and parking options would be expanded.
“We’ll have a much larger garage, and we’ll have much more space for concessions and retail,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.
Airport officials said the estimated $2.8 billion cost would be offset in several ways, including the additional revenues expected from parking, retail, and concessions. Airline fees and federal grants are also part of the funding equation.
One familiar sight that will remain will be the historic domes at Terminal 1. Hamm-Niebruegge said maintaining them was a priority based on feedback from the public.
The combined terminal would include the current Terminal 1 space. The future of Terminal 2 space is expected to be repurposed for yet-to-be-determined uses.