Non-stop flights to Europe will increase St. Louis’ global competitiveness & connectivity; 30-member local trade delegation traveling to Germany on first flight
“This highlights what we can accomplish when we unite behind a bold vision and speak with one voice as a metro”
St. Louis regional business, civic, and governmental leaders joined representatives of Lufthansa Airlines today at St. Louis Lambert International Airport to celebrate the inaugural Lufthansa service to and from Frankfurt, Germany – the first non-stop flights from St. Louis to continental Europe in over 20 years.
“Re-entering the European market with non-stop flight service is a big step forward for St. Louis. This continues the momentum we’ve been building across our metro by increasing our global connectivity and strengthening opportunities for our businesses and residents,” said Andrew C. Taylor, Executive Chairman, Enterprise Holdings and Founding Chair of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “This highlights what we can accomplish when we unite behind a bold vision and speak with one voice as a metro.”
Among the passengers on the sold-out flight to Frankfurt was a trade delegation of nearly 30 local leaders focused on attracting new business to St. Louis.
“This roundtrip service will play a critical role in St. Louis’ business attraction efforts, as noted by the 30-member trade delegation traveling to Germany on the very first flight,” said Jason Hall, CEO of Greater St. Louis, Inc. “Lufthansa Airlines has been an amazing partner throughout this process, and we look forward to strengthening our relationship moving forward.”
Until today, St. Louis was the largest American market without non-stop service to Europe; the last non-stop flight from St. Louis to continental Europe was on TWA to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris in September 2001. The Lufthansa flights are operated three times weekly using an Airbus A330-300 aircraft in a three-class configuration of Business Class (42 seats), Premium Economy (28 seats) and Economy Class (185 seats) with a total capacity of 255.
“We are thrilled to connect this vibrant city and the entire state of Missouri with Lufthansa Group’s main hub in Frankfurt, offering a direct link for St. Louis residents to Europe’s leading financial and cultural centers. From Frankfurt we offer 300 destinations in over 100 countries with seamless connections and unrivaled quality and service,” said Frank Naeve, Vice President of Sales, Lufthansa Group Passenger Airlines for the Americas.
Naeve added that St. Louis is Lufthansa’s 25th gateway in the United States and has garnered excitement on both sides of the Atlantic leading to well-booked flights for the summer months.
Increased Traffic at St. Louis Airport
The non-stop flights to Germany come on the heels of St. Louis Lambert International Airport securing the return of non-stop flights to Toronto, Canada, and seeing overall increased airport traffic in recent months.
“With the addition of Spirt Airlines and strong connecting traffic growth on Southwest Airlines, we believe that our recovery from the pandemic is quite strong,” said Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge, Director, St. Louis Lambert International Airport. “We should see 2022 almost reach pre-pandemic levels and we expect 2023 to grow beyond our 2019 enplanements.”
St. Louis’ Strong Ties to Germany
The St. Louis region has strong ties to Germany, including the Seeds & Traits headquarters for the Crop Science division of Bayer, the KWS Gateway Research Center, the significant presence of MilliporeSigma, the life science business of Merck KGaA, and many others.
“This is a tremendous milestone for the St. Louis community and important step for Bayer in enhancing connectivity and facilitating business with the world,” said Rodrigo Santos, President for Bayer Crop Science, a division of Bayer AG, headquartered in Germany. “We’re thrilled to have a convenient non-stop option for our Bayer colleagues traveling to and from Europe.”
Furthermore, St. Louis is a sister city with Stuttgart, Germany.
“We have been privileged to maintain a vibrant sister cities relationship with Stuttgart since 1960 and look forward to strengthening those ties with this new, non-stop access on Lufthansa,” said Tim Nowak, Executive Director, World Trade Center St. Louis, which organized the trade delegation on board the flight.
Improving St. Louis’ Global Economic Competitiveness & Connectivity
The new non-stop flight service is expected to have a significant impact on the regional economy and increase St. Louis’ ability to compete on the global stage. Industry research and statements from peer metros across the country indicate that non-stop service to Europe adds between $50 million and $100 million per year to a region’s economy.
“St. Louis has many ingredients for success on a global scale: world-class industries, and educated workforce, and a regional focus on innovation,” said Rodney Crim, CEO and President, St. Louis Economic Development Partnership. “With the launch of direct flights to Europe, and the strong support of the St. Louis County Port Authority and the regional business community, we now count global connectivity among these ingredients for success.”
St. Louis companies and organizations that committed funding to improve the region’s global economic competitiveness and help secure the flights include: Centene, Emerson, Enterprise Holdings Inc., Greater St. Louis, Inc. Hermann Companies, Hunter Engineering, Nestlé Purina PetCare, St. Louis County Port Authority, St. Louis Lambert International Airport, and the William T. Kemper Foundation.