KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City airport officials say they’re issuing tickets to drivers who are illegally parked at the new terminal.

But they’ve also made some traffic changes as they prepare for NFL Draft visitors.

Joe McBride, spokesperson for the Kansas City Aviation Department, said traffic control and airport police officers have issued 146 parking tickets since the new KCI terminal opened.

McBride said illegal parking with unoccupied vehicles hasn’t been as much of an issue as vehicles idling at the curb with the driver at the wheel.

Ever since Sept. 11, 2001, parking or idling at the airport curb has not been allowed for security reasons.

At the new terminal, drivers not idling is particularly important for traffic flow. The new curb length is shorter than the former terminals, so there’s no extra room for idling or parking. Many travelers have seen long lines build up from drivers sitting at the curb too long.

So far, KCI officials have not issued any tickets for standing/idling, McBride said. Instead, traffic officers and airport police have been asking drivers to move, circle, or go to the cell phone lot.

Anyone who doesn’t comply could receive a ticket, including some drivers found parked at the curb Tuesday afternoon.

“Has anybody tried to give you a ticket yet?” FOX 4’s Jacob Kittilstad asked one driver.

“Tried to give me a ticket? No. Nobody’s tried to give me a ticket yet,” he said.

“How long do you think you’ve been parked here?” FOX 4’s Jacob Kittilstad asked another driver.

“15 minutes probably,” he said.

FOX 4’s Jacob Kittilstad asked the question to another driver.

“45 minutes,” she responded.

“Wow. Is this how you normally do it at the airport?” FOX 4’s Jacob Kittilstad asked.

“This is the first time I’ve done it,” she said.

NFL Draft traffic

 Justin Meyer, Deputy Director of the Kansas City Aviation Department, said KCI officials know the new terminal will be a “welcome mat” for fans coming to Kansas City for the NFL Draft. They are working on the traffic issue.

“It’s really that later times of the day. Certainly the rules are that you can never park on the curb for an extended period of time. But in that kind of 11 pm to about midnight when it’s really busy – we’ve got to keep the roadway moving,” Meyer said.

Meanwhile, McBride said airlines have not added any additional flights to or from Kansas City for the NFL Draft, but the KC Aviation Department does expect a significant increase in private jet operations.

The busiest arrival days at KCI Airport will be April 24-26. Officials expect 17,000-19,000 passengers, but not all of those will necessarily be for the draft. The busiest departure days after expected to be April 30 and May 1.

The KC Aviation Department said police and traffic control officers have been approved for overtime during NFL Draft week, and they’re staffing to align with peak travel times.

KCI officials will even utilize police recruits waiting to go to academy and airport support staff to help with traffic control. A private traffic control company has also been hired to assist.

City aviation leaders expect the commercial curb, where the rental car bus, shuttles and rideshares operate, will see the most activity — not the private vehicle curb.

Understanding KCI pick-ups

KCI officials said there are several resources available for anyone picking up a passenger at the new terminal.

The airport has several videos online to learn how to navigate the new terminal, including one on picking up travelers in the arrivals area.

KCI’s website also has real-time flight information so drivers can time their pick-up more precisely.

The Aviation Department has temporary signage up in addition to directional signs to the Cell Phone Lot at 680 Brasilia Avenue. The cell phone lot is free to use for up to 45 minutes. It’s just a few minutes away from the new terminal, so you can avoid driving in circles.

Airport officials also encourage drivers to be in contact with travelers by phone and only go to the arrivals curb when the passenger is there.

KCI leaders have also added a temporary sign urging drivers to use two lanes when going to the arrivals area. Long lines have built up when drivers have all piled into one lane.