A New Single Terminal Kansas City International Airport
KANSAS CITY, MO Kansas City, Missouri, residents have debated the need for a new single terminal airport for years. Some like the user friendly short walk from parking lot to gate and others find it outdated, lacking in refinement, and inconvenient.
Financing of public projects in Kansas City is challenging since it straddles two states. Neither Kansas nor Missouri residents want to pay taxes for projects that neighbors across the state line will enjoy for "˜free.' The Bi-State tax to renovate Union Station, in 1996, is the only exception to date.
Proposed improvements to KCI have met similar resistance from Kansas City, Missouri, (KCMO) taxpayers. Why should KCMO foot the bill when half the travelers live in Kansas?
In a recent proposal for a single terminal at KCI, Southwest Airlines solved the financing problem and now the voters need to understand the $964,000,000 (2015 estimate) cost for construction will NOT be paid by KCMO taxpayers.
In early 2016, Southwest Airlines proposed to pay for the new terminal while only raising passenger fees by $2.10 to $9.00. At the time Steve Sisneros, Director of Airport Affairs for Southwest Airlines said, "We believe the new terminal concept maximizes the dollars spent for both customer convenience and operational effectiveness." Sisneros further stated that Southwest Airlines would not participate financially in a plan to renovate the airport.
Mayor Sly James of KCMO decided to delay public vote for this project because most KCMO residents do not understand the new single terminal will not cost them any money unless they fly.
Current Logistical Issues
The 44 year old airport is still popular among locals because it easy to get in and out of, however it represents many challenges to travelers:
"¢ TSA security posts at each gate.
"¢ Since there is only one restroom and a small snack stand in each gate area, if a person exits the gate area to use the restroom, make retail purchases or eat at a restaurant on the concourse they must clear security to re enter the gate area.
"¢ Passengers transferring flights must go through security if the connecting flight boards at another gate.
"¢ When transferring to a flight departing from a different terminal, passengers must exit the terminal building, find the appropriate shuttle bus, enter the terminal and go through security again.
"¢ The airport cannot accommodate indoor shopping malls and assorted restaurants and bars that modern airports offer.
"¢ The limited dining options that close early, a traveler waiting on a transfer or a delayed flight has very few dining and entertainment options at KCI.
"¢ Due to security issues with curbside parking, finding a taxi is inconvenient.
KC's regional business and civic leaders are in early discussions to identify opportunities to support plans for KCI and a potential single terminal design. The Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) is the primary marketing organization, which works to position the KC region as a business and lifestyle destination.
"The KCADC leadership at both the staff and board level consider Kansas City International Airport to be an important regional asset for both business and lifestyle, and we have made it a priority to be engaged in the discussion regarding the airport's future," said Tim Cowden, President and CEO, KCADC.