ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – For airlines, continued fighting in the Middle East has driven volatility in fuel prices and Lambert International Airport Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebrugge says 2013 might be a year of cutting back.

“Clearly, the volatility of it – the ups, the downs, not knowing – weighs heavily on the airlines and I think what it has forced all the airlines to do is look very very closely at those markets that aren’t profitable,” she said.

That, in turn, puts pressure on airports to reduce their costs and she predicts 2013 will be “a challenging year” for the industry.

Lambert saw at least a three percent increase in traffic in 2012 versus the year before and, while it’s unlikely, Hamm-Niebrugge isn’t ruling out similar gains for 2013.

“We’re going to work very hard to hold onto what we got,” she said. “There are a few markets that I think will see an increase to next year so we’ll keep our fingers crossed and work on it.”


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