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Advisory committee recommends new single terminal at KCI

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KANSAS CITY -- A bi-state citizens advisory committee Wednesday recommended that Kansas City build a new single terminal at KCI Airport.

Many travelers like the current airport configuration for its convenience of getting in and out of the gates. But task force members say a new single terminal won't necessarily sacrifice that convenience.

After nearly a year of study, 19 out of 24 members of the task force voted to build a new single terminal at KCI Airport.

KCI is 42 years old. And the task force chair said many of it's components are outdated.  That may explain why the option of keeping the airport much the way it is now received zero votes.

Mayor Sly James says citizens should not believe this recommendation means the city will move forward spending more than $1-billion dollars on a plan originally proposed by the Aviation Department more than a year ago. The mayor says that plan is dead.

James says the council now will use this recommendation and do some fact finding on its own to determine whether to move forward in pursuing a different plan for a new single terminal.

"It's a recommendation that the council will have to consider," James said. "I will tell you the council takes it role as decision maker as opposed to recommendation taker extremely seriously. They may or may not agree with that recommendation. This is going to be to a large extent a decison that council makes and that they are willing to support.  I don't have any idea of what that decision will be."

The Aviation Department already has released a statement saying: "The Aviation Department will work with the airlines to develop a sound financial approach that addresses the community's priorities for a single terminal."

Opponents who post on the SaveKCI website say it looks like the city is intent on building a new terminal. The proposal to rehab the current terminals in some fashion received only 5 votes from the advisory committee.

Any proposal to demolish, replace or build new passenger terminals would have to be approved by Kansas City voters thanks to a petition drafted by the Friends of KCI group.

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28 comments

  • CT

    Complete bull. This whole thing is only to give construction and airport foodie/nicknack companies a windfall. Everyone knows this is corruption at its finest. You are not sly Sly.

    • Sid

      CT, I believe its a 37 gate terminal. That’s tiny. You’ll hardly be walking anywhere. Long lines at security checkpoints? Ha, doubt it…they’ll be more efficient, though. Everyone is freaking out like we’re building the next DFW or DIA. Anyone know what the renovation costs would be just to keep the current terminal set up? Anyone? The advisory group chose this option because they were informed.

      • CT

        Sid, everything you said above and below on this subject has been flatly rejected by everyone that has replied. That’s a bit of therapy for you. So get a clue from that and please keep your delusions or lies to yourself. I and other business travelers that have commented know what they are talking about with a high level of factual first hand repeated experience and cannot be swayed by silly, uninformed, or brainwashed blather.

  • Mel

    We already know what the mayor and City Council want. So voters, write yourself a note and show your contempt for them in the next elections for office. And when this boondoggle goes up for it’s mandatory voter approval, speak loud and speak clear.

  • CT

    “citizens advisory committee recommended”…for sure that “committee” did not represent the voters. Unfortunately a good proportion of the voters are not also flyers. The council probably thinks that’s one of the aces up the sleeve.

  • Wayne

    I have spent a lot of time traveling over the last 6 years and KCI is by far the easiest airport to get in and out of, PERIOD. Also who was on this so called task force and how much money was blown on it. How about you do it the right way and put it on a ballot and see what the people want.

  • CT

    Why screw up the most flyer friendly airport design I’ve ever seen on the planet? Mostly money, greed, creating a legacy…to add points of sale. But also, TSA convenience for a new long lines single security checkpoint like at those hike-to-the-gate airports. So they’ll have created the “convenient” single point crowd mass for the bad guys going to do bad things at the checkpoint sooner-or-later.

  • WhySoSerious

    Let’s say mayor (SLY) James gets a 0.001% kick back from the 1 billion dollar project, that would mean (SLY) would get 1 million dollars! Something to think about!

  • JW

    The current design is semicircular terminals – “This design results in long walks for connecting passengers, but greatly reduces travel times between check-in and the aircraft. ”

    The new design is a pier design that ” Piers offer high aircraft capacity and simplicity of design, but often result in a long distance from the check-in counter to the gate, up to half a mile ”

    I would guess most people in the metro fly in and out of KC, and are not connecting. Most of the connecting flights are on Southwest, were the longest walk may be a few Gates.

    None of the airlines want this change. Kansas City is one of the lowest cost places to fly in and out of, because the landing fees/gate charges per flight are the cheapest. If you spend $1 billion dollars, those fees go up, and so do ticket prices The only growth in airlines, is in low cost carriers like spirit, and higher landing and gate fees will not attract those airlines.

    So local passengers will have to wait in long security lines, pay higher ticket prices forever, and have to walk further to the gate. Say goodbye spending less than an hour at the airport.

    A citizens advisory committee of hand picked yes men recommend the single terminal as originally proposed by the Airport board in 2007.
    A boondoggle for $1 billion to go to contractor buddies, all at the expense of the metro area residents.

  • Chad Nichols

    I can’t be the first one to say this but… Let’s take that 1.2B and build a south KC airport. A big percentage of MCI travelers are from Johnson County. Also while i’m at it, for 1.2B we could build an airport AND fix the 71 south disaster by making an overpass system.

  • Mel

    I, for one, would like to see an accounting by each member of this advisory committee, explaining how they voted and their rationale (IN DETAIL) for voting that way.What did they see that the majority of the travelling public has never seen? Why were they convinced that the current arrangement must be changed? If they were taken underground to the very foundations of the current terminals, saw 8 foot wide cracks, the ground shifting like a fault line, leaky pipes that are about to burst and spill vile liquids all over, and the very gates of hell held back by rusty hinges, then please share it with us so that we can comprehend the seemingly uncomprehendable consensus they’ve arrived at.

  • MS

    The people that don’t want a new airport are the same people that believed that renovating Truman Sports Complex was the right thing to do rather than building new. If the KCMO voters reject this proposal I expect the State of Kansas to step in and approve a new airport in WyCo or JoCo. It’ll be another dagger in the heart of the KCMO economy. Think about it people.

    • CT

      Ah, a such a gem of truth in that! You are probably right that part of this is another expensive KC MO boondoggle based on JoCo KS fears. Ever notice the direction of the rush hour highway traffic jams? If you really care about your economy don’t kill the best airport ever for it…you could choose to go to work in MO. ….so lovely how a million MO side residents can still thrash the source of their paycheck. An airport on the south side in KS (New Century) means that you’ll still be taking a huge cut of the payroll and and services back to MO home with you. MO has just about everything big, big, big on it’s side of the line and a cruddy payroll tax that drives people over to KS, the fears just seem so irrational.

  • MS

    Is no one looking at the related costs to renovate vs. build new. Not much cost difference. Don’t forget that the previous design is no longer being considered and they plan to start fresh.

  • Cliff

    This is a joke. I can be in and out of the airport now in less than 30 minutes when my plane lands. Flying out of the airport is very easy also. Going through security is a breeze compared to other places around the country. Now you can expect long lines. This is not about making things better it is about making more money.

    • Sid

      I don’t think its ever taken me more than 30 min to get in or out of any airport. Here or abroad. A 37 gate terminal will not result in long walks or longer security lines. Flew out to Denver last weekend…it took longer to get through security at KCI than it did at DIA. Long walks, long security lines, and being inconvenient are invalid arguments.

      • Mel

        Really? Every time I’ve flown to Denver, it’s taken on arrival 15-25 mins gate to outside with NO checked bags to deal with. Departing Denver, my best time from dropoff to gate has been about 20 minnutes, with no bags to check and boarding pass in hand. That was a one time only experience. 30 minutes + is the norm. All this versus the customary 5 minutes dropoff to boarding area I expect at MCI. Love, love,love the current arrangement here. I’d rather spend my time at home, then arriving at the airport 1 or more hours before flight time. Food is better at home too.

  • Katherine

    I have gone through well-known airports in a number of foreign countries and the U.S and none of them compares to our gem of an airport design. Nothing even close to KCI in addressing the convenience to the flyer like the KCI design. It is a great airport.

  • CAL

    I have always loved flying out of MCI. In the old days before TSA I could leave Olathe an hour before my flight hop out of the car in the terminal drop off lane and walk straight thru to my flight with time to spare. TSA adds only about 10 minutes at MCI. At most other airports it would be almost as fast to drive to your destination as it is to navigate the arrival / departure nightmares that “modern”airports are.

  • Kelly Durnell Taylor

    Unfortunatley our comments here will go unrecognized, which is why the suggestion to make it a single terminal went the way it did. They never had any intention to do anything else. This is what they wanted and this is what they will get. We were silly to think it would go any other way.

    Goodbye convenient airport – hello long lines, uneeded shopping areas and fast food establishments.

  • CT

    Actually, yes let them screw up their great airport. MO please screw up your airport. Especially if Kansas could build a semi-circle terminal based airport at New Century, provide the convenience that everyone will continue to love, and ghost-town the heck out of a new 1.2B MO airport terminal…wow that would be great irony! Kansas is waiting MO voters. Go ahead, kill your great airport, and hand Kansas the keys to the jets!

  • Justin

    Eveyone calm down! It’s not that bad! You think having one terminal will ruin everything, but let me tell ya this. The proposed terminal will only have around 40 gates or so which is really not that big. You will not be walking a mile like you do in Denver or Dallas. Think of the Indianapolis Airport, it was brand new about 5-6 years ago. Its 44 gates, midsized, clean, looks modern, and I’ve flown into there before and it’s pretty easy to get around. However it was a bit less expensive at $1 billion. The only thing they should try to change is the price. They need to lower it a bit.