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Airline Says it's Too Early to Make Expansion Plans

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis – The second largest carrier at Lambert Airport says it's too early to tell how it might expand its presence in St. Louis once American Airlines cuts its operations there in half.

Southwest Airlines has expressed an interest in adding more flights to its St. Louis schedule. Starting in 2004, Southwest will add 92 aircraft to its fleet over three years.

Chief Financial Officer Gary Kelly says at the time that decision was made, there was no indication that American would radically downsize in St. Louis.

"And indeed, 2004 may not be soon enough to satisfy some of the demand that we may find in St. Louis," Kelly said. "We would certainly make our first phone call to Boeing if we decided we needed X more airplanes. But it's just too early to give you anything definitive. If there's an opportunity in St. Louis, we'll respond swiftly."

Kelly says Southwest only learned the details of American's route eliminations on Sunday, and is still reviewing its options.