ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Lambert International Airport may be in for a massive makeover, and airport officials are encouraging the public to provide feedback during an open house on May 5.

A new airport master plan, completed by leading industry consultant WSP USA, calls for a new single 62-gate terminal to replace the current 54 gates spread across two distant terminals.  

Lambert hasn’t kept up with most major airports over the past few decades, and some people notice it when they get off their planes. 

“It definitely could use a facelift,” said Adam Fox. He was part of a group headed back to New York’s newly renovated LaGuardia Airport after attending an Anheuser-Busch business conference in St. Louis.  

Mike Falcone, who was also traveling with the group, said that Lambert “looked a little old, looked a little tired, and maybe in need of a re-do.”

Meanwhile, airport officials are looking to the future. Perhaps, it’s a future where Lambert’s iconic entrance becomes a gateway to a single security checkpoint that leads to a new linear terminal with modern shops, common areas, and food courts.  

Perhaps, Lambert’s old narrow concourses will be widened from 75 feet to the industry standard of 110 feet. Perhaps, Southwest Airlines’ Terminal 2 can become an airport hotel. Perhaps, the ultra-short drive from I-70 to the airport can be lengthened to give people more time to follow the signs and actually get where they need to go the first time.  

All are features of the master plan, which the FAA requires airports to complete every 10 years.  

“Overwhelmingly, the feedback is that people prefer a single terminal. People want more concessions.  People want more parking,” said airport director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge.   

People want St. Louis to keep up with competing cities. Most have already completed major airport updates.  Kansas City is set to complete its four-year, $1.5 billion dollar airport redesign next year.   

The changes highlighted in Lambert’s master plan will likely be larger, take longer, and cost more. The fees that passengers and airlines pay to use the airport, along with federal funds would pay for it.     

“We want to hear people’s thoughts. We want to see people’s reactions. We want to talk to them about the future of the airport.  This terminal was built in 1956.  It’s an older terminal,” Hamm-Niebruegge said.  

Lambert’s debt load, credit rating, and revenues have improved tremendously over the past decade. The air cargo business has doubled in five years, Hamm-Niebruegge said. The annual number of passengers using Lambert is projected to top 20 million in the 2030s.  It was 12 million fewer than 10 years ago. 

Wednesday, the day before the open house, the airport commission was set to approve new leases for Lufthansa and Air Canada to add direct service to Frankfurt, Germany, and Toronto, respectively. People are already booking flights.

Airport leaders want to know if you think Lambert is ready to take off again. 

The open house starts at 4:00 p.m. and continues until 7:00 p.m. on the lower level of Terminal 1.  You can talk one-on-one with members of the airport team. There is free parking and a shuttle service. You don’t have to go through a TSA screening.  For more details, click here.