I collect 1:400 scale model airplanes and I am planning on building a model airport. My model airport will not be as cool as the huge live-action model airport in Hamburg, but it will look more like this (but in the layout of Atlanta’s Airport). The new airport will be located in St. Louis and called Charles Lindbergh International Airport, to pay homage to the first man to cross the Atlantic in the Spirit of St. Louis airplane. St. Louis does have a nice and underutilized existing airport, but a major international airport needs space for A380s, an American Express Centurion Lounge, and a large hotel connected to the terminals, so that is why I did not recreate an exact copy of St. Louis’ airport.
Below are the exact models that I have. The pictures are not mine, but once I build my airport, I will take high-quality photos. If you would like more information on 1:400 model airplanes, I recommend this website.
Why St. Louis?
This is completely hypothetical. St. Louis is a great city, but too small for a major international hub. However, it would be a great hub for an airline like Alaska or JetBlue, who really lack a Midwest hub. The real St. Louis Airport can handle 30 million people a year (reached that number in 1999 and 2000), but now flights are down to about 14 million people with the loss of TWA.
- Former TWA Hub: From the early 1980s until the late 1990s, St. Louis was the main hub for TransWorld Airlines (“TWA”). TWA liked St. Louis’ central location and even established three long-haul international routes between St. Louis and Frankfurt, Paris, and London. Unfortunately, Carl Icahn conducted a hostile takeover of TWA in the 1980s, loaded TWA with a tremendous amount of debt, and stripped TWA of all of its’ valuable assets. TWA never recovered and declared bankruptcy twice before being sold to American Airlines.
- Central Location– St. Louis is in the perfect spot for a major domestic or international hub. Stopping in St. Louis only adds: 0 miles between Los Angeles and Washington D.C., 1 mile between New York City and Phoenix, 10 miles between New York and Los Angeles, 13 miles between San Francisco and Washington D.C., 41 miles between New York City and San Francisco, and 53 miles between Seattle and Miami. (all calculated via GCmap.com)
- Alternatively, flying through Dallas would, respectively, add the following mileage versus a non-stop route: 488 miles, 105 miles, 151 miles, 217 miles, 269 miles, and 56 miles. Therefore, on all of those routes, St. Louis is a more convenient hub for connecting traffic.
- Close to Other Major Cities– St. Louis is about a four-hour drive from several major cities: Chicago, Kansas City, Memphis, Indianapolis, Nashville, and Louisville. Many people would not mind driving that distance or taking a short flight for an international flight.
- Great City– St. Louis is a very underrated city to visit. Check out our city guide.
- Low Landing Fees– St. Louis convinced WOW air to start service at their airport by giving them an $800,000 marketing budget and waived landing fees for 2 years. St. Louis would likely do the same to bring other airlines like Norwegian to St. Louis.
- Good Weather– Chicago is very close to St. Louis, but receives on average about 5 times the amount of snow compared to St. Louis. Snow can cause significant delays and Chicago’s airports are already quite overcrowded.
TWA Route Map
Charles Lindbergh International Airport
For my model airport, I try to follow two rules. First, each airplane represents two daily international flights (which in real life would be 2-4 actual planes) or four daily domestic flights. Second, the routes must be feasible in both distance and destination (the airline flies that route from the US). If you were wondering why I have so many wide body aircraft instead of narrowbody (737 or A320), it is because the wide body aircraft are about 2-3 times the size of the narrowbody and higher quality for only about $7-10 more. (Narrowbody models are about $30-35 and Widebodies are $40-50).
My next planes I buy will likely be a JetBlue A321, Hawaiian A330, a U.S. Airways plane, two Southwest 737s, and a TWA 747.
Airline Airplane Destination Distance (in miles) Daily Frequency Real US City Destination Air Canada 787-8 Vancouver 1,771 1x New York Air Canada 787-8 Toronto 665 2x Real Route (much smaller plane) Air Force One 747-8 (put in service in 2020) Wherever the President wants to go. N/A N/A N/A Air France 787-9 Papeete (island in Pacific) 5,448 1X Los Angeles Air France 787-9 Paris 4,398 1x Houston or Chicago (A330) Alaska 737 Seattle 1,710 2x Real Route Alaska 737 San Diego 1,558 2x Real Route ANA 787-9 Tokyo (Narita) 6,370 1x Chicago ANA 787-9 Tokyo (Haneda) 6,402 1x Chicago Asiana A380 Seoul 6,689 2x Chicago Avianca 787-800 Bogota 2,556 1x Los Angeles Avianca 787-800 San Salvador 1,745 1x Chicago British Airways A380 London 4,201 2x Los Angeles Delta A350 Shanghai (PVG) 7,198 1x Detroit Delta A350 Bejing (PEK) 6,746 1x Detroit Emirates A380 Milan (MXP) 4,768 1x New York City Emirates A380 Dubai 7,504 1x New York City Level A330-200 Paris (ORY) 4,402 1x New York Level A330-200 Barcelona 4,653 1x Oakland Lufthansa A380 Frankfurt 4,594 1x Houston Lufthansa A380 Munich 4,779 1x Chicago (A340) Norwegian 787-9 Cophenhagen 4,527 1x Los Angeles Norwegian 787-9 Stockholm 4,530 1x Oakland Qantas 787-9 Brisbane 8,750 1x Los Angeles Qantas 787-9 Sydney via Mexico City 9,497 (1,429 + 8,068) 1x Fake Route, Direct route would be longest in the world. Qatar 787-8 Doha 7,390 2x Chicago or Dallas (777) Singapore A350 Hong Kong (then Singapore) 7,948 1x San Francisco Singapore A350 Manchester (UK) 4,076 1x Houston Thai 787-900 Bangkok 8,754 2x No U.S. Routes TWA 767 Amsterdam 4,371 1x New York (old route) TWA 767 Rome 5,066 1x New York (old route)
St. Louis to North America
St. Louis to Europe
St. Louis to Asia, Australia, and South America
St. Louis to the Middle East