Lufthansa Launching St. Louis Flights In June 2022

Lufthansa Launching St. Louis Flights In June 2022

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Lufthansa has just announced its newest destination in the United States, and it’s probably not what most would have expected.

Lufthansa’s new Frankfurt to St. Louis route

As of June 1, 2022, Lufthansa will be launching a new 3x weekly year-round flight between Frankfurt (FRA) and St. Louis (STL). This route has a lot of significance — it’s the first time in around 20 years that St. Louis has a nonstop direct link to continental Europe. The flight will operate with the following schedule on Sundays, Wednesdays, and Fridays:

LH448 Frankfurt to St. Louis departing 10:45AM arriving 1:45PM
LH449 St. Louis to Frankfurt departing 3:45PM arriving 7:45AM (+1 day)

The flight will cover a distance of 4,593 miles in each direction, and is blocked at 10hr westbound and 9hr eastbound. Lufthansa will use an Airbus A330-300 for the route, featuring 255 seats. This includes 42 business class seats, 28 premium economy seats, and 185 economy seats.

The new St. Louis service is already bookable, and there are plenty of award seats in both business class and economy.

Lufthansa is launching flights to St. Louis

This flight is getting $5.5+ million in subsidies

As is standard when airports like this try to attract long haul service, there are lots of incentives and subsidies coming Lufthansa’s way:

  • The St. Louis County Port Authority will provide Lufthansa up to $2.5 million in incentives for this service
  • Greater St. Louis Inc., a regional business group, is pledging up to $2.5 million for this new service
  • The airport will waive landing fees for Lufthansa for 18 months if Lufthansa maintains 3x weekly flights over two years; this could be worth around $520,000

So while there are stipulations with these subsidies and incentives, these are pretty significant. For example, if Lufthansa maintained service for two years, the airline would operate 312 roundtrip flights. If the airline qualified for all of those incentives, that would be like ~$17,700 per roundtrip flights in incentives. While that’s not enough to make the flight profitable, it sure does help.

My take on Lufthansa adding St. Louis flights

If you asked me last week which city in the United States Lufthansa would next add service to, St. Louis probably wouldn’t have been my first guess.

However, on some level I suppose this makes sense. Looking at the list of the highest traffic airports in the United States, St. Louis is one of the largest airports that’s not served by Lufthansa or a subsidiary (at least when you consider greater metropolitan areas — for example, Lufthansa flies to Miami but not Fort Lauderdale). The only bigger airport is Minneapolis, but that airport is largely so busy because of the number of people connecting through on Delta.

The way I view it:

  • Airlines are having to get creative with long haul service, given that much of Asia continues to remain closed, and likely will for a while (especially China, which was a huge market pre-pandemic)
  • Lufthansa does have a transatlantic joint venture with United, so selling seats as part of this arrangement makes it a bit easier
  • There are some major business ties between St. Louis and Germany, which help as well
  • The major subsidies and incentives being offered sure do improve the economics of this flight
  • WOW Air had briefly offered service to St. Louis for a season back in 2018, but quickly ended the route, as the airline was “disappointed” by the response from customers
WOW Air was the last airline to fly from Europe to St. Louis

Bottom line

Lufthansa will be launching a new route between Frankfurt and St. Louis as of June 2022. The flight will operate year-round 3x weekly using an Airbus A330.

On the one hand, I’m surprised by this route, since I wouldn’t have naturally assumed St. Louis was in line to get a transatlantic flight on a major carrier. On the other hand, I can make sense of this in terms of how travel demand has shifted, the incentives being offered to the airline, and the general size of the airport.

What do you make of Lufthansa launching flights to St. Louis?

Conversations (116)
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  1. M I'm e K Guest

    Great, finally direct service to Europe. We have missed TWA tremendously. We need to support this effort as a community.

  2. RoidRage Guest

    I was on the last flight from FRA-STL when TWA was around. I remember the employees popping some champagne bottles. I asked what the occasion was, and that's how I found out.

    If you are flying to Germany, know that you can ride/fly with Deutsche Bahn. I think you can ride on the train anywhere in Germany from the airport you landed at for an extra 25 euro. You can buy it for your return, too.

    WOW did not specifically end the STL route, they went out of business

  3. Josh Guest

    Was wondering why LH would be flying into STL until I saw there was money tied to it! This will be a 2 year ordeal and LH will be OUT! No one wants to go into STL. Good luck to the City of St Louis.

    1. Joes Guest

      We have a lot of German businesses that use STL as their North America HQ

  4. Jamie Guest

    Bravo to LH/Star! I would have thought that the first international back would have been BA (from the minimal remaining loyalty to AA in the metro) but with the Monsanto/Bayer and Merck consolidations LH makes eminent sense. The growth and wealth in the Bosnian community is a further VFR source for business. Definitely the old 7p STL-LGW TW flight was well used and loved by the populace...with the 3 day/week schedule LH here seems very...

    Bravo to LH/Star! I would have thought that the first international back would have been BA (from the minimal remaining loyalty to AA in the metro) but with the Monsanto/Bayer and Merck consolidations LH makes eminent sense. The growth and wealth in the Bosnian community is a further VFR source for business. Definitely the old 7p STL-LGW TW flight was well used and loved by the populace...with the 3 day/week schedule LH here seems very doable. Finally, this will doubtless pull some local FF loyalty away from AA and DL into LH/UA (Southwest fills one type need in the metro area, but this will move some people/spend away from AA)

  5. Dan Guest

    Yeah keep flapping your arms. That will convince people you're a big city. Smh.

  6. Jill Guest

    Let’s get to 100 comments people
    LH & STL 100 comments here for OMAT

    1. Patrick Guest

      Booked my flt. for next fall!
      STL-FRA-ZRH
      Now if we can just lounge! :-)

    2. Joes Guest

      Well see they might use Terminal 2 for departures

  7. Joes Guest

    @DCS you are a Star Alliance flyer?
    What’s your opinion of the LH A333 plane 2-2-2 Business Class seats

  8. Robert Fahr Guest

    Let's evaluate one day after the subsidies end. I would bet on the route disappearing. This is what European airlines do to cities starved for international routes. Take the , fulfill the obligation and done.

    1. Joes Guest

      Well ya can you blame them?
      Also Asia will be closed until 2023 or 2024

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Or what happens when the first German visitor gets murdered. St. Louis has the third-highest murder rate in the world.

  9. Daniel Gradwohl Guest

    What does the SIZE of the airport have to do with anything?!

  10. Former STL resident Guest

    STL has been desperate for a transatlantic flight ever since the demise of its TWA hub. As it is in so many other ways, St. Louis is cursed by being so close to Chicago when it comes to air travel. A quick hop on United or American, and you can fly non-stop to most major European (or Asian!) destinations.

    We'll see if this route lasts after the subsidies go away. Though St. Louis is...

    STL has been desperate for a transatlantic flight ever since the demise of its TWA hub. As it is in so many other ways, St. Louis is cursed by being so close to Chicago when it comes to air travel. A quick hop on United or American, and you can fly non-stop to most major European (or Asian!) destinations.

    We'll see if this route lasts after the subsidies go away. Though St. Louis is relatively populous and has far less intercontinental service than other non-hub airports serving similarly sized metro areas like Portland, Tampa, Austin, or San Diego, it has a lot of other factors going against it, compared to those cities.

    First, it's not at all a tourist destination (certainly not for international tourists). Second, metro St. Louis has been losing large corporate headquarters for decades, as businesses that used to be based there are bought by larger firms (e.g., McDonnell Douglas, Monsanto, Scottrade, Anheuser-Busch, Ralston Purina, Express Scripts, Panera Bread, etc.), which reduces premium business travel demand. Third, the region's population is not growing. Metro St. Louis gained 0.57% population over the last decade (lagging all of the biggest 25 US metros except for Detroit and Cleveland), with the city proper continuing its 70-year population decline, from over 850,000 people in 1950 to around 300,000 today. Fourth, it's a metro area that has very few recent immigrants (at 4.8% foreign born, it ranks 394th of all US Metropolitan Statistical Areas), meaning there's not much demand for immigrants visiting family in their countries of origin. Finally, and this is subjective, I found St. Louis to be an incredibly provincial place when I lived there, with most people not having that much interest in the world beyond St. Louis and the USA. This is backed up by the fact that Missouri ranks near the bottom of states by percentage of residents who have a passport at 31% (couldn't find metro-level data).

    1. Joes Guest

      Hopefully you can return back to STL

    2. Charles Guest

      Totally agree. I lived in STL for close to a decade and witnessed first hand the provincial attitude you speak of. The interest in traveling abroad was minimal. Also, as a weekly business traveler who flew in and out of Lambert, air traffic was disappointing. The airport was mostly empty. I don’t see this route lasting beyond the subsidies. I also question what business travel will look like post pandemic.

  11. Trini66 Guest

    Ben, one reason for this flight that you may have missed is that STL has significant German roots in its history. I happen to know of this because my company's headquarters is there and 1 of colleagues is a history buff with German roots on both sides of her family. She once told me about how many Germans settled there years ago.

    1. Jon Guest

      There are also numerous large businesses with direct ties to German companies. Particularly in the pharmaceutical industry.

  12. D3kingg Guest

    I hope the route works. St. Louis is also a car ride away from other mid size us cities.

    At the height of TWA before Carl Icahn bankrupted them STL-NRT was in the works.

    1. Tim Howard Guest

      i’m really glad to see that for St. Louis. The city took a real beating when TWA was pulled out and sold to American. AA had no interest in St. Louis And I am glad we have an international flight.

  13. Patrick Guest

    I just got some additional info from the local news.
    For those of you wondering who paid how much to get them here.
    Local business promo group - $5,000,000 9and I didn't add an extra zero)
    Local Port Authority and another group $500,000 each.

    48 German businesses here in STL pushed hard for it
    3 days a week M / W / F
    Some type of agreement for guaranteed 3 days a week and at least 2 years of service.

    1. ScottD Guest

      I believe the port authority is pledging $2.5 million, and local business groups also pledging another $2.5 mil, for a total of $5 million. Then the airport is waiving landing fees for an additional $500,000. For a grand total of $5.5 million. This is the going rate. From ibj.com from 2018 when Indianapolis got the Paris flight: "Delta Air Lines Inc. is in line for up to $5.5 million in state economic development incentives when...

      I believe the port authority is pledging $2.5 million, and local business groups also pledging another $2.5 mil, for a total of $5 million. Then the airport is waiving landing fees for an additional $500,000. For a grand total of $5.5 million. This is the going rate. From ibj.com from 2018 when Indianapolis got the Paris flight: "Delta Air Lines Inc. is in line for up to $5.5 million in state economic development incentives when it launches its nonstop flights between Indianapolis and Paris." This was paid out mostly by the state of Indiana over 2 years. On the contrary, the state of Missouri is unbelievably myopic, and didn't help at all with this new service: they have no problem paying out hundreds of thousands of dollars to get a 35 seat regional jet serving a small rural city such as Kirksville, which is nice, but the state sees no benefit from a major international airline bringing 250 passengers per day into the state, people with plenty of money to spend. Regarding the STL businesses pledging $2.5 million: I believe the business groups pledged to buy that many tickets ($2.5 million) over a period of time. This should be no problem as several businesses here travel all the time to Germany, especially Bayer but also companies such as Anheuser-Busch, etc.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Can't blame politicians whose first priority is to their constituents. "Sorry, I decided to spend your taxpayer money to subsidize the airfare of Germans flying to St. Louis on a foreign airline over ensuring your local airport had a flight." That's how politicians lose elections. I'm actually surprised the Buy America Act doesn't prohibit the St. Louis airport or port authority from using tax money (surely there's some federal dollars mixed in the pot) from...

      Can't blame politicians whose first priority is to their constituents. "Sorry, I decided to spend your taxpayer money to subsidize the airfare of Germans flying to St. Louis on a foreign airline over ensuring your local airport had a flight." That's how politicians lose elections. I'm actually surprised the Buy America Act doesn't prohibit the St. Louis airport or port authority from using tax money (surely there's some federal dollars mixed in the pot) from going to a non-US airline.

    3. Lee S. Guest

      TWA flew from St.Louis to London, Paris, and Frankfurt all very popular. I traveled for business and used these flights many times. The service was great. Looking forward to this new Lufthansa route.

  14. FrequentTraveler Guest

    This 3x per week flight is good for STL. (Disclosure: I'm a resident - and long-time OMAAT reader - but not connected with anything with anything to do with this flight. I learned about it today like the rest of you).

    That said, it appears that in 2019 there were 384 passengers originating in STL each day destined for Europe. Another 75-80 through via Europe to other regions such as Asia for a total...

    This 3x per week flight is good for STL. (Disclosure: I'm a resident - and long-time OMAAT reader - but not connected with anything with anything to do with this flight. I learned about it today like the rest of you).

    That said, it appears that in 2019 there were 384 passengers originating in STL each day destined for Europe. Another 75-80 through via Europe to other regions such as Asia for a total of about 450 people per day who could make use of this.

    This new flight obviously makes sense for travelers terminating in FRA (such as business travelers), but the real test will be with those continuing on to other destinations. It's not uncommon for us in STL to have both a US and European gateway to get to a final destination. This was the case on previous trips of mine to Croatia, Scotland, and Sardinia - and I'd happily pay a bit more to avoid this (or burn Aeroplan miles ).

    Also, the business community has apparently invested heavily in this route with Bayer, Enterprise, Nestle Purina, Centene, and Emerson all providing direct funding. I suspect they will push their teams to make use of this new route for trips to Europe to help ensure its success.

    As others have rightfully pointed out, Lambert airport is... not ideal. But it is underutilized and capable of handling significantly more traffic.

    Thanks Ben for covering this. STL needed a win and we're excited to finally have a direct flight to Europe after sitting back and watching others such as BNA and IND get direct routes. Time will tell how well the region can support this - especially when the subsidies run dry - but we'll take it for now.

  15. Ed Guest

    "if Lufthansa maintains 3x weekly flights over two hours; this could be worth around $520,000"

    I think you mean "two years"?

  16. TL Guest

    Sorry, but your comment about MSP having TATL flights just because of connecting flights is a bit silly… the metro area is larger than those of Denver, Austin, Charlotte, Tampa, Vancouver… surely having a hub helps, but it’s a major metropolitan area with many Fortune 500 HQs.

  17. Jared Guest

    I'm a little disappointed I won't have an opportunity to get any 747 or 787 pics here (We just had an Antonov 124 come through a few days ago..) but I guess Lambert doesn't have any gates that would work for it. It's just nice to get any wide-body at this point, and who knows... If this gets them passengers they may add more destinations and flight times. Maybe eventually a new terminal if other airlines hop on board? I guess I can dream

    1. D3kingg Guest

      I haven’t been to Lambert Field since the 90s but the 2 gates at the very end of the terminal I think 50 and 51 at the time were where TWA had the HNL and LHR flights served by 747s .

    2. ScottD Guest

      When the airport re-numbered the gates at the end of C concourse, the old gates at the very end (formerly 50-51) were re-numbered C36 and C38. After STL was de-hubbed, the airport closed off the gates after C24. A few years ago, due to growth, they re-opened it to gate C28. Recently they re-opened all the way to C31, and are almost finished re-activating the people movers. The airport is starting to feel really busy...

      When the airport re-numbered the gates at the end of C concourse, the old gates at the very end (formerly 50-51) were re-numbered C36 and C38. After STL was de-hubbed, the airport closed off the gates after C24. A few years ago, due to growth, they re-opened it to gate C28. Recently they re-opened all the way to C31, and are almost finished re-activating the people movers. The airport is starting to feel really busy again. Terminal 2 of course is super busy with Southwest going all the way to E40, which has now extended well into the former D gates operated by TWA. Word is that if Southwest takes a few more gates, the airport will re-open the D concourse so you can walk between terminal 1 and terminal 2 again without having to take the inter-terminal shuttle or Metro train.

    3. ScottD Guest

      Gate C28 can take 747's. It's a common gate. Only problem is the old customs below it is gone.

  18. John-in-Texas Guest

    Back in the day, British Caledonian flew STL-LGW.

  19. patrick Guest

    It's OK by me. I've typically had to go to ORD or YUL to get my LH fix in J / F. The downside is there aren't any decent lounges here to hang out in before the flight.
    Oh well, I'll guess I have to suffer. ;-)

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Vino Volo isn't bad. They have a great burrata salad. Mike Shannon's Grill has Chalk Hill chardonnay for $10 a glass, which is a great price.

  20. GC Guest

    Glad to see it happening ( being based there), but also not sure how it will play out long run.

    Random thoughts:

    1. It will serve a population just shy of 3 million that will now have better one stop connections (Frankfurt has a massive number of intra Europe flights, I bet this opens up more destinations).
    (As an aside to someone commenting St Louis has lost 70% of it's population, clearly has never...

    Glad to see it happening ( being based there), but also not sure how it will play out long run.

    Random thoughts:

    1. It will serve a population just shy of 3 million that will now have better one stop connections (Frankfurt has a massive number of intra Europe flights, I bet this opens up more destinations).
    (As an aside to someone commenting St Louis has lost 70% of it's population, clearly has never been to the midwest- many cities in the Midwest lost population over the last several decades, but to the metro suburb areas. You see there's lots of land to spread out in!)

    2. Hopefully corporate demand will be soft enough to open significant premium award space but enough to hold the route

    3. There are multinationals there (Bayer AG there most prominent for Germany flights. And they will not be moving anywhere given that St Louis is a giant biotech hub for those not familiar; also, Boeing, Budweiser, Enterprise are there). Not sure how much critical mass would justify the route tho.

    4. Anyone saying what a garbage city anyplace is needs to tell us where you live.....

    1. GC Guest

      A few more random thoughts:

      I can't imagine anyone connecting from another US city, given that united only flys here from hubs that generally have Germany flights

      Southwest is massive in St Louis- would anyone fly via southwest then connect? I can't imagine they would split tickets like that when you could acheive the same connecting in a united hub

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Keep telling yourself that. I live in Flint, a city admittedly worse than St. Louis. But St. Louis proper is a dump. Worse than Detroit, which has made remarkable progress since filing bankruptcy in 2013. If Indianapolis and Pittsburgh couldn't support flights to Europe WITH subsidies, there's no way St. Louis can do it.

    3. GC Guest

      Um, if you are in Flint, you have absolutely no right criticizing any city on Earth. I used to live in Detroit, and we were so happy we weren't Flint. In no way on this earth would I be caught dead in Flint itself. Not that it would take long.
      St Louis city is pretty much a lateral move from Detroit city. Please notice I'm not bragging about that fact. Just calling you out.

      Um, if you are in Flint, you have absolutely no right criticizing any city on Earth. I used to live in Detroit, and we were so happy we weren't Flint. In no way on this earth would I be caught dead in Flint itself. Not that it would take long.
      St Louis city is pretty much a lateral move from Detroit city. Please notice I'm not bragging about that fact. Just calling you out.
      I've seen the so called "Renaissance" in Detroit every time I've been back. And the seven times previously since the 80's. Still not great. Detroit boosters are the only people worse than St Louis boosters.
      Now if you're talking the Detroit metro, I will tell anybody it's seriously underrated and so think it's worth the trip.

      But seriously, Flint .......

    4. Gc Guest

      And notice I didn't claim the flight would last. Just random observations.

    5. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I said Flint is "admittedly worse than St. Louis." I wasn't defending third-world Flint. There is no question that downtown Detroit is better than downtown St. Louis. There are actually restaurants and a growing retail scene. St. Louis downtown is tumbleweeds after 5 p.m. without a sporting event or convention. I was in St. Louis a couple times this year. I actually think St. Louis has some great cultural institutions that rival Detroit, Chicago, and...

      I said Flint is "admittedly worse than St. Louis." I wasn't defending third-world Flint. There is no question that downtown Detroit is better than downtown St. Louis. There are actually restaurants and a growing retail scene. St. Louis downtown is tumbleweeds after 5 p.m. without a sporting event or convention. I was in St. Louis a couple times this year. I actually think St. Louis has some great cultural institutions that rival Detroit, Chicago, and even New York thanks to its prosperity in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But the city is third-world today. St. Louis will probably be bankrupt or disincorporated by the state, thanks to its perilous state. There's a reason the Ritz-Carlton and Le Meridien are in Clayton.

    6. Joes Guest

      There will be a Le Meridien downtown as well also there’s a Four Season’s Hotel in Downtown St. Louis

    7. Joes Guest

      I feel ya GC
      Sorry I almost called you “CG”
      Seriously I am so happy for STL
      I wished it was the A343 plane or A346 plane

    8. axck Guest

      FYI I'm a STL resident, but not a native. This city needs some growth an I'm hoping this helps invigorate things.

      Let's be real first of fall: the city is not growing. You can forget the city population decline, because the entire metro area's growth has been stagnant. The entire metro area (city + county + St Charles county + many counties on the IL side + Jeff county + Franklin county and others) has...

      FYI I'm a STL resident, but not a native. This city needs some growth an I'm hoping this helps invigorate things.

      Let's be real first of fall: the city is not growing. You can forget the city population decline, because the entire metro area's growth has been stagnant. The entire metro area (city + county + St Charles county + many counties on the IL side + Jeff county + Franklin county and others) has only grown by 1.17% the last 10 years, which is among the worst growth rates of large metro areas in the US. Among the top 50, only Hartford and Cleveland had lower growth rates. Considering the entire USA grew by about 7% in the last 10 years, this means that the STL metro area has effectively shrunk. To say that the city is growing is essentially an outright lie, because it's not.

      I'm very excited for this and am hoping we can kick off a revitalization of the city similar to what Detroit city has done over the last decade. You're hoping that corporate demand will be soft, but the success of this route depends on corporate demand. Demand needs to be consistent on this front because leisure travelers are unlikely to pay a premium for a nonstop to Europe from their hometown vs connecting in ORD for $100-$150 less.

      One other thing that some people aren't calling out is the city's Bosnian population. St Louis has one of the biggest Bosnian populations outside of Europe, and there are also many Bosnians in Germany. Many Bosnian Americans still have close family in Europe and Germany.

  21. Bobby J Guest

    There is an absolutely massive ethnic-Bosniak population in Saint Louis. This flight will make visits home to a one-stop affair via Frankfurt. Similar logic to the Turkish Airlines flights to DTW announced a few weeks back. I'm willing to bet that >95% of the passengers on this flight will be with onward connections via FRA.

  22. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    Now we have the answer: Lufthansa is getting 1 million in subsidies.

    "For the last several years, the St. Louis County Port Authority has set aside over $1 million of its reserves as an incentive to try and lure an international flight to Lambert."

    https://www.stltoday.com/business/local/germany-s-lufthansa-to-launch-nonstop-service-from-st-louis-to-frankfurt/article_267deec8-1b58-571f-9043-39ef43acf5de.html

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Wait, you mean all the STL civic boosters who continue to fill the comments with their many takes on why this makes so much economic sense are mistaken?

      I’M SHOCKED. SHOCKED, I TELL YOU.

    2. MC Guest

      St Louis is a world class city and deserves a transatlantic flight. I believe this is just the beginning to many more. There are 60,000 Bosnian nationals in the city, 10,000 German nationals, 2,500 Italian nationals, 1,500 French, 6,000 Russian, 20,000 British, and the rest add up to 30,000. That's over 120,000 European nationals in the St Louis metro area.

    3. Never In Doubt Guest

      Fly-over-city civic inferiority complexes are the best!

    4. UA-NYC Guest

      Let's be real...there's nothing world class at all about STL. This will run its course quickly, then connections in ORD will be the norm again.

    5. Joes Guest

      @UA-NYC
      Then why is United Express GoJet is based in St. Louis

    6. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      St. Louis is only a world-class city if you go by the murder rate. In 2020, St. Louis had 87 murders for every 100,000 people. That's the THIRD-highest in the world, behind only Juárez and Tijuana. If St. Louis was a foreign country, the United States Government would tell Americans not to visit there.

    7. ScottD Guest

      Pretty much all mid-sized cities need to spend at least $5 million to get in the game. So what STL is doing is not a sign of desperation, it's just the going rate. The port district is giving $2.5 million for the cargo connectivity it brings. The city and the state are giving zero. The businesses are pledging to buy tickets via Lufthansa (LH) instead of other airlines...for example, if company X wants to travel...

      Pretty much all mid-sized cities need to spend at least $5 million to get in the game. So what STL is doing is not a sign of desperation, it's just the going rate. The port district is giving $2.5 million for the cargo connectivity it brings. The city and the state are giving zero. The businesses are pledging to buy tickets via Lufthansa (LH) instead of other airlines...for example, if company X wants to travel from St. Louis to Zurich, they can fly from STL to New York, then New York to Zurich on airline A (or via Philadelphia or Atlanta or a number of other cities via various arlines). But now they have pledged to fly more on Lufthansa instead of the other airlines, when traveling to Europe. This is worth $2.5 million to Lufthansa. The airport is only giving up landing fees it wouldn't have received if the flight never flew here, so it's not really a loss for them. The incremental cost to the airport for this one flight landing on their runways is near zero, because the airline rents out its gates and ticket counters, and the airlines pay for the workers who unload the planes, etc. In other words, the "subsidies" are real for the airline, but it's not as if the city of St. Louis is handing them $5.5 million as they beg LH to fly here.

  23. David Guest

    St. Louis isn't actually the second-busiest airport in the US currently unserved by the Lufthansa Group. Besides Minneapolis–St. Paul, which you mentioned, Nashville and Portland both had more passengers in 2019 and 2020.

    If you were looking at the Wikipedia page, it's wrong and I'm not sure why. But the fact that Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina is somehow listed as the 28th busiest airport in the US tipped me off. Here's the accurate...

    St. Louis isn't actually the second-busiest airport in the US currently unserved by the Lufthansa Group. Besides Minneapolis–St. Paul, which you mentioned, Nashville and Portland both had more passengers in 2019 and 2020.

    If you were looking at the Wikipedia page, it's wrong and I'm not sure why. But the fact that Greenville–Spartanburg International Airport in South Carolina is somehow listed as the 28th busiest airport in the US tipped me off. Here's the accurate data from the FAA: https://www.faa.gov/airports/planning_capacity/passenger_allcargo_stats/passenger/media/cy20-commercial-service-enplanements.pdf

    1. John Guest

      The main difference is MSP, BNA, and PDX already have direct flights (some of which to go FRA and MUC) to Europe from other airlines whereas STL does not. There is also Kansas City <4 hours away with 2.5million people that doesn't have any direct flights to Europe as well. At some point it makes more sense to add flights to unserved airports rather than keep adding to slightly larger airports that are already served.

    2. David Guest

      This is true and I see no reason why the new flight shouldn't be a success. Just wanted to point out that what Ben said in the article about MSP being the only larger airport not served by Lufthansa Group is not accurate.

  24. Christopher Guest

    Bayer is certainly the largest player here in STL with German connections, but we have also have the Anheuser-Busch North American HQ, Siemens has a large presence locally, and Continental Tire has a large plant in southern IL. Don't think we have to necessarily assume that this deal is being underwritten by just one entity.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      But what about Memphis? Memphis has both business and leisure demand. Arguably more leisure demand than St. Louis. Yet, it can't support a year-round flight to Europe.

    2. stogieguy7 Gold

      This is nonsense. MEM is a smaller metro that is poorer than STL and has fewer corporate facilities with the metro area. Basically, everything you're trying to say about STL is even more true about MEM. And STL (the city) is indeed rough - the worst parts are north St. Louis and the inner north suburbs - including the airport area. But there are many nicer (and more affluent) areas to the west and south...

      This is nonsense. MEM is a smaller metro that is poorer than STL and has fewer corporate facilities with the metro area. Basically, everything you're trying to say about STL is even more true about MEM. And STL (the city) is indeed rough - the worst parts are north St. Louis and the inner north suburbs - including the airport area. But there are many nicer (and more affluent) areas to the west and south of the city that would welcome a nonstop to Europe. Many more potential pax here than in MEM. Which is why DL dumped it as a hub (and even that was regional traffic).

    3. Christopher Guest

      Memphis is less than half the population as a metro area and I don’t think the scope of ties to Germany (or any other European country) by the business community in Memphis are on a scale similar to what exists in St Louis

    4. Jill Guest

      Do you missed the MEM Hub?

    5. UA-NYC Guest

      The AB InBev power-players who are traveling internationally are likely all in NYC these days, not STL.

    6. ScottD Guest

      I found a list of top cities with number of Fortune 500 HQ. STL ranks above Miami, Cincinnati, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte, among others. Detroit and Denver have only one more HQ than STL, and Seattle has only 2 more than STL. Pretty respectable! Latest list I could find is 2019, but this doesn't change much from year to year.
      2019 Fortune 500, by MSA:
      New York City MSA: 71 companies #1
      ...

      I found a list of top cities with number of Fortune 500 HQ. STL ranks above Miami, Cincinnati, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte, among others. Detroit and Denver have only one more HQ than STL, and Seattle has only 2 more than STL. Pretty respectable! Latest list I could find is 2019, but this doesn't change much from year to year.
      2019 Fortune 500, by MSA:
      New York City MSA: 71 companies #1
      Chicago MSA: 34 companies #2
      Dallas MSA: 23 companies #3
      Houston MSA: 22 companies #4
      San Francisco MSA: 19 companies 5 (tie)
      San Jose MSA: 19 companies 5T
      Atlanta MSA: 16 companies 7T
      Minneapolis MSA: 16 companies 7T
      Washington DC MSA: 16 companies 7T
      Boston MSA: 13 companies 10T
      Los Angeles MSA: 13 companies 10T
      Philadelphia MSA: 13 companies 10T
      Seattle MSA: 11 companies 13
      Denver MSA: 10 companies 14T
      Detroit MSA: 10 companies 14T
      St. Louis MSA: 9 companies 16T
      Bridgeport, CT MSA: 9 companies 16T
      Miami MSA: 8 companies 18
      Cincinnati MSA: 7 companies 19T
      Milwaukee MSA: 7 companies 19T
      Pittsburgh MSA: 7 companies 19T
      Richmond MSA: 7 companies 19T
      Phoenix MSA: 6 companies 23
      Charlotte MSA: 5 companies 24T
      Cleveland MSA: 5 companies 24T
      Nashville MSA: 5 companies 24T

      Read more: https://www.city-data.com/forum/city-vs-city/3050709-2019-fortune-500-1000-msa-city.html

  25. DF Guest

    You're neglecting mention the main reason this happened, which is also this route's best chance for sustainability and success. Bayer bought Monsanto and now has its USA headquarters in St. Louis.

  26. Leo Guest

    Fantastic it’s gona save us so much time connecting always via ORD or JFK. It’s such a great news. Can’t wait!!!!

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      I can understand preferring this flight for many reasons, but unless your final destination is Frankfurt*, it’s unlikely to change your connecting time.

      *if it is, WOOT!

    2. Rich Guest

      As a Bayer employee who travels frequently to our headquarters in Leverkusen (near Cologne), this is great news! Frankfurt to Cologne is 1hr by high speed train and 2hrs by car. It will be so nice to land back in the US and be “home” without a domestic connection after 11hrs on plane.

    3. Leo Guest

      This exactly this! It would be clutch coming back to US and just take an Uber home instead of waiting for a connecting flight at ORD or ATL.

    4. Joes Guest

      Well Never in Doubt
      Have you ever traveled over 12 hours to get to Europe

  27. Dave Guest

    With Merck headquartered in Darmstadt, I wonder if they have something to do with this flight. Congratulations to STL on the flight.

  28. Leo Guest

    Fantastic it’s gona save us so much time connecting always via ORD or JFK. It’s such a great news. Can’t wait!!!!

  29. Alan Guest

    Not a smart decision. The Star Alliance transatlantic joint venture can already serve STL-Europe traffic very effectively via ORD/IAD/IAH/EWR. I highly doubt this will drive a meaningful number of incremental bookings; it will only cannibalize from existing flights. In addition, LH's A330 is comically oversized for this route; 42 business class seats is a staggering number to fill in this era of anemic corporate demand, and the amount of local and beyond leisure traffic from...

    Not a smart decision. The Star Alliance transatlantic joint venture can already serve STL-Europe traffic very effectively via ORD/IAD/IAH/EWR. I highly doubt this will drive a meaningful number of incremental bookings; it will only cannibalize from existing flights. In addition, LH's A330 is comically oversized for this route; 42 business class seats is a staggering number to fill in this era of anemic corporate demand, and the amount of local and beyond leisure traffic from STL won't be enough to sustain this route. I suspect this new flight will be a dream for nonrevs and a nightmare for finance.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      As always with new route announcements on OMAAT, I look forward to both commenters who know better (check!), and local civic boosters who know why their little burg was chosen (check!).

    2. Mark Guest

      With 48 German organizations in Missouri, direct service to the Deutschland will be a symbiotic relationship. The marriage of Bayer & Monsanto, and a metro population of close to 3 million is plenty large enough to satisfy this route, along with subsidies that surely will be implemented. Wait & see.

    3. Alan Guest

      They can probably manage a decent load factor in economy and PY, although likely at poor yields. The major question is whether this is revenue-positive for UA/LH's joint venture, which to me seems unlikely. Hub-to-hub flights will lose a major flow market that provided a lot of volume, and because of weaker demand on the STLFRA local flight than, for example, ORDFRA, LH will be forced to adopt a less aggressive RM posture and the...

      They can probably manage a decent load factor in economy and PY, although likely at poor yields. The major question is whether this is revenue-positive for UA/LH's joint venture, which to me seems unlikely. Hub-to-hub flights will lose a major flow market that provided a lot of volume, and because of weaker demand on the STLFRA local flight than, for example, ORDFRA, LH will be forced to adopt a less aggressive RM posture and the average fare will decline. It's important to remember that you can't judge the success of a flight based solely on its loads; the overall impact on the network must be considered as well.

    4. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Subsidies are what's behind this. This sounds like Indianapolis and Pittsburgh's short-lived Paris service. Or Austin getting KLM to Amsterdam.

    5. MC Guest

      You're totally wrong. There is huge demand from St Louis to Europe and people often drive from St Louis to Chicago to get a direct flight to Europe. St Louis has a tremendous ethnic population with over 100,000 European expats living in the city. No doubt every flight will be full. This is an incredibly intelligent decision. St Louis has a massive economy and it one of the largest and most important metro areas in the U.S.

    6. DTS Guest

      May I quote you in 12 months from now?

    7. ScottD Guest

      "comically oversized for this route"? Lufthansa's A330-300 has 255 total seats. It's one of the smallest widebodies out there, other than 767-300 which is almost non-existent these days since it is so old. The 787-8, perhaps the smallest modern/efficient widebody out there, has about 235 seats on most airlines, most with 30-40+ business class seats, so the airplane Lufthansa will use has only 20 more total seats than the 787-8, and similar level of business...

      "comically oversized for this route"? Lufthansa's A330-300 has 255 total seats. It's one of the smallest widebodies out there, other than 767-300 which is almost non-existent these days since it is so old. The 787-8, perhaps the smallest modern/efficient widebody out there, has about 235 seats on most airlines, most with 30-40+ business class seats, so the airplane Lufthansa will use has only 20 more total seats than the 787-8, and similar level of business class seats. Keep in mind that A321's, which fly somewhat regularly out of STL to a number of cities, have 190+ seats these days. Re: your comment about Star Alliance serving effectively via ORD/IAD/IAH/EWR, perhaps if going just to FRA your point is true, but there are a lot of people traveling to Zurich, Munich, Vienna, and a number of other smaller destinations where they have to take 3 flights, or take the two flights just to get to those secondary cities in Europe and that one flight pair is their only option. In this case, there are often multiple flights per day from FRA to smaller European cities, so this adds good options for those travelers. Most flights from major US hubs to places like Frankfurt have numerous passengers connecting onward to other cities.

  30. Mike Guest

    Back in the early 1990s when St Louis was the hub for TWA and you could fly TWA 747 direct to LHR. I remember in elementary school, we went on a class field trip to Lambert International Airport and got to go on the 747 and my love of aviation was born.

    1. D3kingg Guest

      @Mike

      Very cool. I flew the TWA 747 from STL to HNL when I was 8 yrs old. TWA was the pioneer of business class in a 3 class layout (when they delivered the L1011) The entire upstairs of the 747 SP was 16 business class seats.

    2. Joes Guest

      That’s they way to fly

  31. thomas Guest

    As a St. Louis resident I'm quite excited about this announcement. St Louis is the 21st largest (by population) metro area in the U.S.-- which I'd venture to guess it's the biggest city without direct service to Europe. Glad to see that will finally change

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Except the entire city is a third-world. The airport is one of the worst in the country. St. Louis has lost about 70% of its population since 1950. Without heavy subsidies, I would be shocked if this flight lasts more than a summer. Just ask Pittsburgh and Indianapolis. Neither have gotten Delta service to Paris back.

    2. Robert Schrader Guest

      Wait, why weren’t you just promoting Memphis in another comment? If St. Louis is “Third World,” Memphis is a Calcutta sewer.

    3. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      I wasn't promoting Memphis. I was merely observing that St. Louis and Memphis are very similar. The fact is neither Indianapolis nor Pittsburgh could support flights to Europe once the massive subsidy expired or, in the case of Indianapolis, the pandemic occurred.

    4. Chris Topher Guest

      Delta's flight to CDG from Pittsburgh has long been regarded as a success story of subsidies. Pittsburgh supported the flight for 8 YEARS after the subsidy expired. Delta exited the market due to downward fare pressure from WOW & Condor, and when BA announced service to LHR. Maybe you do a little research next time.

    5. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      If success is giving subsidies and creating a monopoly that falls apart the moment there is market competition then, yes, it's a case study on how crony capitalism under the guise of economic development, tax rebates and tax incentives never succeeds in the long-run. There's always a better subsidy somewhere else.

    6. STLFlyer Guest

      No, they aren't. Memphis and Indy both have 1 million less people in their metro area. Spoken like someone who doesn't understand the city-county divide here and the underreporting of the metro population.

    7. Daniel Guest

      Some of your other points aren't wrong, but "St. Louis has lost about 70% of its population since 1950" hints strongly at "I Googled it without understanding it" grandstanding. The city, like many mid-sized American cities, saw significant flight over the past 70 years, exaggerated by the fact that it's an independent city with a small area. The metro area has grown from well under 1 million in 1950 to about 3 million today. Last...

      Some of your other points aren't wrong, but "St. Louis has lost about 70% of its population since 1950" hints strongly at "I Googled it without understanding it" grandstanding. The city, like many mid-sized American cities, saw significant flight over the past 70 years, exaggerated by the fact that it's an independent city with a small area. The metro area has grown from well under 1 million in 1950 to about 3 million today. Last I checked, airports serve metro areas, not individual cities and counties...

    8. thomas Guest

      Spot on, Daniel. I'm not claiming St. Louis to be a world class city (nor the metro area to be a fast-growing region), however it's silly to cite statistics for the city proper. St Louis city proper (300,000 pop) represents over just 10% of the metro area.

    9. John Guest

      Most of those those population loses were in the 60's and 70s and are irrelevant for the present. For instance, airlines aren't going to pull out all their flights from Chicago because it lost the most people last year. The Pittsburg and Indy flight got pulled bc of international travel restrictions from covid as did many international flights in hub cities last year.

    10. Joes Guest

      Did you really have bad travels to STL
      What’s your problem?
      Also DL flies their 757s and A321s into STL
      Along with their nice brand new A220s
      STL Airport did a great job landing LH
      Plus it’s a Gojet based for UA as well

  32. Brian Guest

    It isn't as strange as everyone here thinks.

    Bayer Chemical bought Monsanto, whose HQ was St. Louis. Now Bayer is running their entire global CropScience business from St. Louis. Makes perfect sense for a direct flight.

    1. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Would a company like that really have 30-40 premium fare-buying passengers to justify a daily or several times per week flight?

    2. Klaus Guest

      Apparently yes. If you google „Lufthansa Charlotte Schleich“ you will find an interesting article in bizjournals - I see similarities between Charlotte and St Louis

    3. DCA Will Always Be "National" Guest

      It's like SFO's Roche Coach on LX...STL's Bayer Bus on LH.

    4. dillpickles New Member

      There's a large german-heritage population here (lots of old-money) that already travels to Germany via ORD-FRA/MUC. The leisure capacity has already been there for a long time. Flights between FRA-STL direct now are due to needs by the Pharma/BioAg industries.

      I'll speak exclusively for myself here, but this will absolutely shift my loyalty from Oneworld over to Star Alliance. I had already started liquidating my AA miles (easy to earn, but J redemptions to...

      There's a large german-heritage population here (lots of old-money) that already travels to Germany via ORD-FRA/MUC. The leisure capacity has already been there for a long time. Flights between FRA-STL direct now are due to needs by the Pharma/BioAg industries.

      I'll speak exclusively for myself here, but this will absolutely shift my loyalty from Oneworld over to Star Alliance. I had already started liquidating my AA miles (easy to earn, but J redemptions to Europe are trash with the YQ) and a lot of paid travel was already on LH/TK for TATL anyways. This just gives me a very solid reason to go all in with UA/*.

    5. Sam Guest

      What Brian said. Listen to him.

      Also don’t read too much into Wow’s statement about being disappointed in demand. STL-KEF load factor was around 75% and shortly after they ended the route they also folded up operations.

      STL is an underserved market for Euro flights with most mainline carriers only offering connecting service via ORD, DFW or ATL.

      Southwest has a stronghold on the domestic routes and has been rewarded with a...

      What Brian said. Listen to him.

      Also don’t read too much into Wow’s statement about being disappointed in demand. STL-KEF load factor was around 75% and shortly after they ended the route they also folded up operations.

      STL is an underserved market for Euro flights with most mainline carriers only offering connecting service via ORD, DFW or ATL.

      Southwest has a stronghold on the domestic routes and has been rewarded with a ton of local support (STL is a top-10 market for them).

      Bringing in another member of the Star Alliance (United and Air Canada being the others) should put SkyTeam and OneWorld on notice. The market has been there for the taking for quite some time and it’s nice that LH is stepping up to grab it. If they are rewarded with the same support that Southwest has received, particularly with a mix of business and leisure fliers, this may end up being a big win for the airline and the region.

    6. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      To be fair, Delta does have a pretty good presence in St. Louis with both mainline and regional connection flights. It's an hour to Cincinnati, Detroit and Minneapolis, all of which have international flights.

      I like flying into St. Louis because the airport (despite being really bad) has some quaint midcentury modern charm, though the rental car arrangement is horrible as is the lack of an airline lounge or Priority Pass lounge at the...

      To be fair, Delta does have a pretty good presence in St. Louis with both mainline and regional connection flights. It's an hour to Cincinnati, Detroit and Minneapolis, all of which have international flights.

      I like flying into St. Louis because the airport (despite being really bad) has some quaint midcentury modern charm, though the rental car arrangement is horrible as is the lack of an airline lounge or Priority Pass lounge at the concourse used by Delta.

      St. Louis reminds me a lot of Memphis. I have to imagine there is more international demand for flights to Memphis given Elvis, Beale Street, etc.

    7. GC Guest

      Yeah, have to agree the airport is not world class by any stretch, just OK, generic in it's services. I do like DTW much better. STL is a classic of midmodern architecture but that only goes so far. The main benefit is that you can be off the plane and at your destination within 20-30 minutes without checked luggage- it's a much larger airport than it's flight volume and it's easy to get anywhere quickly from there (by car)

    8. John Guest

      Memphis' airport has half the demand of STL and CVG is smaller as well. STL airport is the largest/busiest airport without a direct European flight so it makes logical sense to add it there compared to one of the smaller airports you mentioned or ones that are already served by multiple European flights (MSP and DTW).

  33. Brad Guest

    No doubt a precursor to a secret code share agreement coming with Southwest.

    1. Mg Guest

      I figured a direct flight might come to St. Louis after Bayer bought Monsanto - assumed covid and virtual meetings had derailed that hope. The only other thing I can think of is the NGA having a large office here but not sure that would bring much contractor traffic to/from Germany.

      There is an independent lounge called Wingtips over in terminal 2 (primarily Southwest). Priority pass restaurant in terminal 1 (AA/Delta/United).

      Being from STL I'm...

      I figured a direct flight might come to St. Louis after Bayer bought Monsanto - assumed covid and virtual meetings had derailed that hope. The only other thing I can think of is the NGA having a large office here but not sure that would bring much contractor traffic to/from Germany.

      There is an independent lounge called Wingtips over in terminal 2 (primarily Southwest). Priority pass restaurant in terminal 1 (AA/Delta/United).

      Being from STL I'm excited but also don't bank on the longevity of this route.

    2. patrick Guest

      BTW... you can access Wingtips via the Priority Pass membership.

  34. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

    This is just bizarre. Is there even a frequent flyer lounge they can use? I imagine this route is being heavily subsidized by either the St. Louis airport or St. Louis taxpayers (or both).

    1. Klaus Guest

      There is an admirals club (former TWA) at T1. Lufthansa used the Admirals Club in Charlotte but the flights between Munich and Charlotte are currently paused.

      To me, flying to STL is not stranger than flying to CLT. There are no connections from CLT onwards, but BMW and Schleich are close to Charlotte.

    2. FNT Delta Diamond Guest

      Charlotte also has banks.

    3. Joes Guest

      No more admirals club closed up since March 2020

    4. Leo Guest

      Admirals club
      Wingtips lounge
      2 priority pass restaurants

    5. ScottD Guest

      As others have said on here, do your research. The airport is simply waiving landing fees for 18 months, $500,000 in money it wouldn't collect anyway if the flight didn't exist. They still get the money from gate rentals, etc. The St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers are paying nothing. The port district which gets its revenue from cargo and other sources is kicking in money. Also, a group of STL businesses have committed to use...

      As others have said on here, do your research. The airport is simply waiving landing fees for 18 months, $500,000 in money it wouldn't collect anyway if the flight didn't exist. They still get the money from gate rentals, etc. The St. Louis and Missouri taxpayers are paying nothing. The port district which gets its revenue from cargo and other sources is kicking in money. Also, a group of STL businesses have committed to use Lufthansa for a certain portion of their travel to Europe.

    6. Scandinavian Guest

      What´s bizarre?? Lufthansa apparently thinks it´s a good idea, and so does St Louis. So what is it that is so bizarre? How about judging by actual performance?

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Daniel Guest

Some of your other points aren't wrong, but "St. Louis has lost about 70% of its population since 1950" hints strongly at "I Googled it without understanding it" grandstanding. The city, like many mid-sized American cities, saw significant flight over the past 70 years, exaggerated by the fact that it's an independent city with a small area. The metro area has grown from well under 1 million in 1950 to about 3 million today. Last I checked, airports serve metro areas, not individual cities and counties...

2
dillpickles New Member

There's a large german-heritage population here (lots of old-money) that already travels to Germany via ORD-FRA/MUC. The leisure capacity has already been there for a long time. Flights between FRA-STL direct now are due to needs by the Pharma/BioAg industries. I'll speak exclusively for myself here, but this will absolutely shift my loyalty from Oneworld over to Star Alliance. I had already started liquidating my AA miles (easy to earn, but J redemptions to Europe are trash with the YQ) and a lot of paid travel was already on LH/TK for TATL anyways. This just gives me a very solid reason to go all in with UA/*.

1
ScottD Guest

I found a list of top cities with number of Fortune 500 HQ. STL ranks above Miami, Cincinnati, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and Charlotte, among others. Detroit and Denver have only one more HQ than STL, and Seattle has only 2 more than STL. Pretty respectable! Latest list I could find is 2019, but this doesn't change much from year to year. 2019 Fortune 500, by MSA: New York City MSA: 71 companies #1 Chicago MSA: 34 companies #2 Dallas MSA: 23 companies #3 Houston MSA: 22 companies #4 San Francisco MSA: 19 companies 5 (tie) San Jose MSA: 19 companies 5T Atlanta MSA: 16 companies 7T Minneapolis MSA: 16 companies 7T Washington DC MSA: 16 companies 7T Boston MSA: 13 companies 10T Los Angeles MSA: 13 companies 10T Philadelphia MSA: 13 companies 10T Seattle MSA: 11 companies 13 Denver MSA: 10 companies 14T Detroit MSA: 10 companies 14T St. Louis MSA: 9 companies 16T Bridgeport, CT MSA: 9 companies 16T Miami MSA: 8 companies 18 Cincinnati MSA: 7 companies 19T Milwaukee MSA: 7 companies 19T Pittsburgh MSA: 7 companies 19T Richmond MSA: 7 companies 19T Phoenix MSA: 6 companies 23 Charlotte MSA: 5 companies 24T Cleveland MSA: 5 companies 24T Nashville MSA: 5 companies 24T Read more: https://www.city-data.com/forum/city-vs-city/3050709-2019-fortune-500-1000-msa-city.html

1
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