Kansas City City Council faces its biggest decision yet: The future of the airport

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City City Council’s Airport Committee is presenting its recommendation for KCI's airport renovation before the full council on Tuesday.  The committee is answering questions about cost and design of a single-terminal. The city council docket indicates some of the meeting may be closed to discuss legal matters, litigation, privileged communications with attorneys, sealed bids or proposals, etc.

Their presentation provided to FOX 4 by city leaders, recommends a new terminal for KCI and a new parking garage. The committee said the airlines do not support the current design of the airport. The committee recommended the following one-terminal redesign.

terminal layout

Click here for the full presentation. The council will vote next week and if they approve it goes before citizens in August.

The meeting was a significant one in the decision-making process for the $1 billion plan to create a new single terminal airport, or embark on major renovations to the existing terminals.

Nearly 900,000 passengers travel through Kansas City International Airport every month. Southwest Airlines representatives told airport committee members that number could be much larger with a better terminal design.

“One thing that was brand new that we had never heard before is that our current configuration is holding us back when it comes to more flights, and that is because we do not have a good connectivity experience here,” Airport Committee Chair Jolie Justus said. Justus and others on the committee traveled to Dallas on Friday, April 15, to tour Love Field and meet with airlines about KCI.

kci terminalA single terminal design that meets airlines needs, includes security and space for sorting baggage in the post 9/11 world is recommended by the Aviation Department.

Some passengers say they can tell Kansas City is falling behind, and the airlines are taking notice.

“I’ve always taken Kansas City flights, but it’s getting harder and harder to get back to Kansas City or fly direct somewhere else," Christopher Homan of Sedalia, Missouri said. "Now I’m going to have to start going to St. Louis; it’s a shorter time for me.”

"This is by far the biggest decision this Council will make," Teresa Loar, 2nd district councilwoman, said.

The airlines would be paying the bulk of the costs, however, in the form of repaying general airport revenue bonds. That might make it tough to go against their wishes.

KCI one-terminal plan