KCI’s Terminal C, which houses American Airlines, is expanding with new features to accommodate more passengers

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Travelers at Kansas City International airport may soon notice more space to accommodate fuller flights and new features added to Terminal C.

American Airlines told airport managers last year that it wanted more space to fly bigger planes in and out of KCI.

To meet the demand, the airport is creating a 9-gate departure lounge in Terminal C with one larger check-in entrance and four security lanes. A new restaurant, rest rooms and water bottle refill station also have been added to the secure side of the passenger waiting area.

"What we are constrained by is limitation of gate area space," said Justin Meyer, deputy director of aviation. "As anybody who flys through when you are boarding a flight that’s 150 seats, 230 seats, it's really tight. This will alleviate that a little bit, but it’s still an issue for us going forward."

Federal guidelines also required the airport to add a dedicated room for nursing mothers and a service animal relief area to any new construction. Those are features that similar airports our size already have.

The airport is spending $5-million on this project, paid for by passenger user fees.

Meyer says this investment does not mean KCI doesn't need a new airport terminal. He calls these changes necessary to keep the current airport operating.