KCI Airport confronts problem of cars abandoned by passengers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Kansas City International Airport has roughly 22,000 parking spaces. Airport managers say right now, just under 20 of those spaces are filled by cars whose owners haven't returned, and the cars are considered to be abandoned.

The airport is like a city within a city, according to KCI Airport.

Spokesperson Joe McBride, who has watched the parking lot near the airport's control tower turn into a makeshift storage area, says 20 cars stored there have been left at KCI for more than 90 days.

McBride says it happens often when passengers drive in to fly out, but never come back for their cars, despite the airport's efforts to get in touch with owners by mail.

"If we don't hear back, all the cars go to this area for a time, and then, they're towed down to the city's impound lot and finally, they'd be auctioned off," McBride said.

Some of the cars look pretty sharp, like the maroon 70's model Chevrolet Corvette. Others don't look so fresh, like this one that spontaneously caught fire last week while owners were waiting in the terminal for a departing flight. McBride says no other cars were damaged.

McBride says parking space is often at a premium, since the airport serves 30,000 passengers per day.

"We do have parking spaces at a premium in Terminal B garage," McBride said. "That terminal has about 60 percent of the market share with Southwest and Delta and Alaska (Airlines) That garage does fill up during the week."

Airport security also keeps a close eye, to ensure those cars aren't a security risk.

Passenger Amy Scott, a metro resident returning from a flight, couldn't believe the cars that had been abandoned.

"I don't have that kind of freedom with money to just abandon my car," Scott said. "I don't know why you'd just get rid of your car and not come back for it. I guess they must not need it too badly."

McBride mentioned one owner who paid a parking bill of $2,700 dollars for their car.

There's a chance one of those cars could belong to one of our viewers. If you believe one of them belongs to you or someone you know, call the airport's main number.

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