ST. LOUIS – St. Louis Lambert International Airport just posted its two busiest months in the past six years.

FOX 2 reviewed a key indicator of passenger traffic and found the trend is no fluke. It could be critically important to the airport’s future.

People are bringing the place to life again.

“I think (travelers are) just having to spread out, breathe a little bit and feel human again,” Monica Visher said.

She was flying to Las Vegas from St. Louis Lambert on Tuesday.

“Yes, it is noticeably busier,” airport spokesman Roger Lotz said.

It’s not just busier than last year, or the year before, or the year before that. It’s busier than it was before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The TSA tracks the number of passengers going through its checkpoints, a key indicator of travel originating from St. Louis Lambert.

That number was 598,086 in June and 609,900 in July, the only two months to top 590,000 in the past six years. September is also up. The number has been above pre-COVID levels (2019) for three of the last four months, with August 2023 falling just short.

“It makes me feel better about our future. St. Louis was quite a hub. We need this,” Visher said.

A weekly passenger chart showing last year and this year shows 10 weeks of more than 130,000 passengers in 2023. There were none last year.

“The travel is now stronger than ever because three of the past four months—June, July, September—we’ve had the largest amount of passengers going through our TSA security since 2109,” Lotz said. “It’s not that we keep on looking back, but now we can set our sights on the future and say these numbers should remain strong.”

Perhaps they’ll boost the argument for a long-awaited airport transformation to
a single terminal with 62 gates instead of two terminals with just 54, at a cost estimated at nearly $3 billion.