A massive shift is underway with the on-site workforce at Kansas City International Airport’s new terminal, as a yearslong bustle of construction activity gives way to operations readying to open.

With this transition, leaders with the airport and its concessions manager are pushing to get hundreds of new employees hired, background-checked and trained in a matter of weeks. It’s no small feat as the $1.5 billion terminal’s opening draws inexorably closer.

New concessions manager Vantage Airport Group plans to have more than 1,000 employees when the terminal opens, General Manager Lovell Holloway said.

That will include more than 800 new hires and about 200 workers pulled over from the current concessionaire, Maryland-based HMSHost. As of mid-January, Vantage had filled about one-third of the positions.

Finding “amazing” people who are ready to create a “seamless and frictionless environment” for thousands of passengers represents “Thing One and Thing Two” among Vantage’s priorities, Holloway said.

Concessions staffing is all the more important with major sporting events peeking over the horizon: The Big 12 Conference men’s and women’s basketball championships come in March, and the 2023 NFL Draft arrives in April.

“We really want to have people be a master of their individual locations,” he said. “That’s what we’re really focused on — is the passenger having an extraordinary experience? — and so we want to keep people where they are performing and loving the work environment where they are.”

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