KCI terminal opens in 2023, but now’s the time to use it to recruit new business


Tim Cowden made more than three dozen presentations on Kansas City’s need for a new airport terminal in the run-up to a successful vote in 2017. The CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council said he began selling the benefits of the new terminal the day after the vote.

The $1.5 billion project isn’t slated to open until March 2023, but Cowden said area businesses should join in selling the new terminal now. That’s because the timeline for airport construction increasingly is correlating with those of moves contemplated by companies and individuals.

“This airport terminal is truly for the region. It is a regional asset,” he said. “I would encourage everyone to watch very closely the timeline for the opening and start planning now for events or meetings to bring people in. It will be a tremendous asset to all in Kansas City.”

The new terminal already has played a role in a successful effort for Kansas City to host the 2023 NFL Draft and the region’s bid to be a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Both play into the larger effort to show off Kansas City to the world.

“With any product, it’s all about perception,” Cowden said. “That terminal has served us well for half a century, but it is way past its time. The perception that people have when they arrive in Kansas City doesn’t reflect the rest of our region. This new terminal is going to reflect the true quality of what Kansas City is all about.”

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