Consultant says agreement on new single-terminal KCI airport ‘weeks’ away

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- An aviation consultant told city council members Thursday that we may be only "weeks" away from a cost-sharing agreement among the airlines to build a new terminal at KCI Airport.

Lou Salomon said the airlines are coming to grips with the $1.64 billion price tag.

Salomon represents airlines serving KCI. He said the costs associated with a new terminal won't be a surprise to airline executives.

Eight carriers at KCI have been reviewing plans for a new terminal, and all are in agreement with the design and functionality of a new larger terminal than originally proposed, with more gates.

Salomon reassured city council members that this project will not "crater."

"That’s my calming message. Relax. This is normal," Salomon said. "This is a very expensive project. Airports are a very complicated environment. You’re not just moving people. You’re moving cars. You are moving baggage. You’re moving airplanes."

Salomon told council members not to expect all eight carriers to sign long-term leases to operate at KCI.

City aviation leaders said they need at least three carriers, representing 60 percent of the market, to sign 9-year leases to operate at the new terminal.

Although some remain confident that construction will begin soon, demolition of Terminal A can't begin until the Federal Aviation Administration signs off on an environmental assessment. And the partial government shutdown is delaying that approval.

City council members are eager for the airlines to reach a cost-sharing agreement. Many are encouraged that more people are flying out of Kansas City than ever before, as the airport set a new passenger record last month.

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