School closings: Several districts closed Wednesday

Airline dispute delaying agreement on new KCI single-terminal airport

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Mayor Sly James says a dispute among the airlines is holding up an agreement to pay for a new terminal at KCI Airport.

City leaders remain confident that a deal will get done.

James said the airlines must work it out among themselves. He said any deal must be fair and not reduce flights or air service to Kansas City.

In a letter to the city, small carriers Spirit and Allegiant said they can't support plans to build a new terminal right now because of a price tag that's exceeded $1.6 billion.

Allegiant said large airlines are determined to include rates and charges in the proposed agreement that would penalize smaller airlines.

In another letter, a firm representing Southwest, Alaska, American, Delta and United said they're supportive of the process and continue to evaluate the project's cost while negotiating with the city.

"It appears as though a dispute between the smaller and larger airlines over who pays what percentage of the $20 million costs related to a baggage claim system has created a kink in the process and the momentum," James told the airport committee.

Council members pointed out that it was the airlines, not the developer or the city, who wanted more gates and a bigger terminal. The mayor said the guaranteed maximum price and contingencies have been known to the airlines since the beginning of the process.

Without a deal with the airlines, some on the council said there's no other way to pay for a new terminal. James said he's determined to make sure that doesn't happen.