Lambert closes 12-gate section of airport

Monday, December 8, 2008

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Lambert Airport in St. Louis has closed a 12-gate section of a concourse that links its main and east terminals.

The change went into effect Monday and will save about $900,000 in reduced costs for electricity, cleaning, trash removal and escalator maintenance.

The airport said the change was part of a plan to reduce the budget by $2.7 million. Lambert is also freezing 12 vacant positions, adjusting guard services, closing a parking lot valet service and delaying a firetruck purchase.

Lambert plans to build walls at both ends of the section to be shut down. The gates in the area have been vacant with leases that expired at least three years ago.

"It's indefinite," said airport spokesman Jeff Lea about the closure. "It'll be closed until there are other reasons to reopen it."

Frontier Airlines and Great Lakes Airlines are not affected by the closure and will continue to operate out of gates that remain open at Concourse D.

Passengers trying to get between terminals can take a free shuttle bus between terminals. The shuttle was operating before the decision to close part of Concourse D.

Lea said Lambert has seen about a 5 percent drop in passenger levels so far this year, which he said is far less that many other airports in the nation.

He said Lambert has received a roughly $650,000 Missouri Department of Transportation grant to help existing airlines expand and to bring in new airline business. An employee is also working full-time on ways to expand both passenger and cargo service at Lambert, he said.

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