04/02/2012 08:12 am ET

St. Louis Airport: Tornado-Damaged C Concourse Ready To Reopen

Barely one year ago, a tornado touched down at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport, especially ravaging Concourse C. Just four days later, the airport director said the facility would be 100 percent operational -- minus Concourse C. Now, Concourse C is ready to host travelers once again.

Today, Lambert-St.Louis' Concourse C welcomes back American Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Cape Air. According to CBS St. Louis, the event was marked by a 7 a.m. ribbon cutting by Mayor Francis Slay.

“Monday will be a great day for St. Louis and the region as it marks the biggest milestone in our tornado recovery,” said Lambert Director Rhonda Hamm-Niebruegge in a press releast. “We want to thank our passengers, customers and the entire community for their support during the past year as we’ve worked through a massive restoration project along with additional improvements that were already planned for the C Concourse.”

The C Concourse is reopening six months ahead of schedule and slightly under budget, reports KSDK Channel 5.

"I think they did a nice job using the other terminals, so I personally wasn't inconvenienced," traveler Kelly Doria told KSDK. "But it's nice to have the airport back up and fully operational."

Shortly before the tornado hit on April 22, 2011, Concourse C had already begun to undergo improvements, which resumed concurrent with tornado repairs. According to the press release, these improvements include a new tiled corridor, brighter ceilings, oval “cloud” lighting, fully renovated restrooms, new signage, digital directory maps and art glass screens. Travelers will also see new food offerings like the Schlafly Beer Bar and a Mediterranean Cafe.

Hometown company Anheuser-Busch will also participate in the celebration by welcoming Concourse C passengers and visitors with Budweiser Clydesdales between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.

To get a sense of what the terminal looked like before the repairs, check out photos of the damage and watch this video of the tornado shot from inside the airport below.