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A major hub in the middle of the country helps alot but ORD already serves that purpose for them.
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But STL is FAR less congested and I'd imagine gate costs, landing fees, etc. are also far CHEAPER at STL as compared to ORD.
Ozark owned D concorse - and plenty of other gates including a TON at ORD - TWA bought them and got the gates which led to TWA essentially owning every concoruse at STL with the exception of the East terminal (SWA hangs out there, its new) and now AA buys TWA and decides to pull out? Doesn't make too much sense.
When AA first got hold of TWA everyone was saying the small airlines and regionals would move over to MidAmerica (shares a runway with Scott AFB in Belleville, IL - across the river from STL) but there's not a sole there ... three years after the deal went through.