The effort to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport has taken another step with the release of information about 18 groups that responded to a “request for qualifications” to show interest in leasing the airport, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. A city committee will review those 18 to determine the ones from which it will seek official bids.
What kind of property would those groups be bidding on? Airport traffic numbers from the last three decades offer one measure.
The airport served more than 15.6 million passengers in 2018, according to its air traffic activity reports. More than 194,000 flights took off or landed at the airport.
Annual passenger traffic at the airport exceeded 20 million in 1988. The number peaked in 2000 at 30.5 million, almost double the traffic the facility saw last year.
Passengers decreased precipitously in the first few years of the 21st century, falling nearly 35% between 2003 and 2004. That came after American Airlines’ 2001 acquisition of Trans World Airlines and 2003 closure of TWA’s St. Louis hub, as well as an industry-wide decline in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.