St. Louis-Lambert survived 95% drop in traffic and revenue amid COVID pandemic

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ST. LOUIS – Air traffic has posted a remarkable surge at St. Louis-Lambert International Airport this Fourth of July weekend since the lows of the COVID pandemic in 2020. One thing still in effect is the requirement to wear a mask in the airport.

According to the TSA, approximately 35,000 passengers are traveling to and from St. Louis Airport every day. That’s a far cry from the 1,000 people a day during the early days of the pandemic. At one point, both traffic and revenue were down nearly 95%.

Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, the director of St. Louis-Lambert International Airport, said those days provided a challenge to figure out how to keep the airport afloat on a day-to-day basis.

She said the federal pandemic funds were essential. Between what it’s already received and is still slated to get, the airport will wind up collecting about $128 million in federal aid. That allowed the airport to pay its bills and keep workers on the payroll.

As for the mask requirement, Hamm-Niebruegge said that will stay in place until September per federal orders. She said it’s still tough to know who is and isn’t vaccinated and then there is the issue of the Delta variant spreading.

Hamm-Niebruegge said the COVID crisis is the worst she’s experienced in her 40 years in the business; much worse than even the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

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