T here was a rather remarkable discussion of KCI on KCPT’s Ruckus last week. For one thing, liberal pundit Mary O’Halloran agreed with Show-Me Institute’s Crosby Kemper III. As amazing as that was, more remarkable were Yael Abouhalkah’s comments. Regardless of whether you agree with him or not, he is usually current and accurate with the facts. However this time, it was as if he had been on vacation for six months OR was simply there to press forward, the city’s collapsing PR narrative.
Right out of the blocks, he tries to redefine and relabel the comments of Southwest Airlines’ Ron Ricks as “stupid” and refers to him as “one spokesman.” Mr. Ricks is the Executive Vice President in charge of approving any airport lease arrangements. (See here.) He decides if Southwest will be a major player at KCI or will take its airplanes elsewhere. He’s not a spokesman, he is “the man.” The only stupid comment here is Yael’s. The odd part is that he knows who Mr. Ricks is because I told him during a Twitter exchange over a week ago.
As a refresher, the comments from Mr. Ricks’ to which Yael is referring are here. And yes, the “Nanny Naysayers” of which Yael speaks jumped on them because for one thing, they were accurate and for another, the guy saying them is among the most important stakeholders.
Yael then goes on to talk about the hope of improving security and convenience and getting people to their places faster with something more to eat for maybe $650 million instead of the $1.2 billion that the task force has been asked to no longer mention. This is remarkable. It’s pretty much agreed that the current security arrangement is superior to anything that a single terminal would offer both in convenience and effectiveness. Restaurants have been added beyond security and more could be if demand is there for less than $650 million. He reduces the convenience discussion to curb-side drop offs. It has never been about curb-side drop offs. It’s about the speed from drop-off or parking, through security and to the gate. He then labels top-ranked KCI as “2nd tier” and even manages to slip-in the old “build a new terminal to attract more airlines” gambit even though there is still zero evidence that any airline goes to a destination because of the terminal amenities. Let’s ask Mr. Ricks.
Yael does agree that there is valuable discussion taking place about how to attract more non-stop flights to more locations. That answer is simple. Southwest. With airline consolidation, the only major non-stop locations available outside of diminishing hubs are those served by Southwest. And you are not going to get them by blowing off their concerns and calling their decision-maker’s comments “stupid.”
Here is a link to the episode. the KCI discussion begins around the 6:36 mark. And do they really call for the ouster of Mark VanLoh at the end? Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy!