Belated congratulations are due to the Aviation Department for “landing” Allegiant Air recently. During the ATAG’s behind the scenes tour of KCI in 2013, Director VanLoh made it a point to say that they could not get Allegiant Air to fly here because we could not accommodate their gate needs with our current terminal set-up. Thus, Allegiant was flying to Wichita, Springfield, Omaha and Des Moines instead. Interestingly, I see they are still flying to these markets. Maybe there is a “KCI gate” at those airports with fleet of Uber drivers waiting to shuttle people back to KC?
This forum still exists for those wishing to have an open and honest discussion regarding KCI. And yes, my personal belief is that the 2014 recommendation of the ATAG was a forgone and at times seemingly choreographed conclusion. Most already assumed that but I still have people ask me.
It’s time to move the conversation forward.
This guy ****** over KCI in soooo many ways…
“Shortly after Mark VanLoh was appointed he floated a un-vetted idea, that failed miserably, to build an entire new terminal south of the existing runway 9/27 and have the entrance to the airport off of HWY 152, emphasizing shortening the driving distance for KCI flying public. He had not done his homework! He had not even considered what the Aviation Department had just done (2001-2004) where they issued a $258M bond and just renovated all three terminals and in doing this, justified this renovation stating, he Terminal would be good for at least 25 years (i.e. 2029). He also did not know/consider that MODOT would have to pony up approx. $1Billion to modify HWY 152 and modify the existing roads into the airport. There were no concrete reasons to build a new terminal at KCI just VanLoh’s pipe dream.
After VanLoh’s first attempt to build a completely new terminal failed, he then continued with another un-vetted idea to “update/modernize” KCI’s Terminal again using not one concrete reason to do so. He started a very focused quest to build a New Single Terminal at KCI. He continued this effort until he (for reasons unknown) left and went to Tulsa in February 2017. However, from 2004 up thru 2016 Mr. VanLoh pursued the single terminal concept WITHOUT involving the Airlines. Yes, the Airlines heard he was pursuing renovating/modernizing the existing terminals or building a new terminal but had not officially been brought into the discussion. He had not notified the FAA of his plan as it was just casual talk.
From 2004 up to 2016, with the renovation of all three terminals in 2004 , the airlines were happy with the existing Terminal complex. In fact at one point, as VanLoh pursued the new terminal, in 2013 he announced he was closing Terminal “A” and that Terminal “A” would close on 1-8-14 as a cost saving effort he got an offer. When he announced the closing of Terminal “A” in a meeting Southwest Airline offered to take over all of Terminal “A” and renovate it themselves and Southwest was told “No” because the airport was going to build a New Single Terminal where Terminal “A” was located. From very good sources, (people actually in that meeting) where Southwest offered to take over Terminal “A”. Southwest indicated they wanted to expand from their existing 16 gates to 22 gates in Terminal “A”, increase the number of flight into and out of KCI and establish a “Pilot Hub” at KCI. As a result of VanLoh’s adamant “NO”, Southwest established the pilot hub in St. Louis. The truth is VanLoh closed Terminal “A” and consolidated the two busiest airlines in Terminal “B”, (Southwest Airline & Delta) to create congestion in Terminal “B”, so as to convince the flying public a new single terminal was needed. They even established a Valet Parking option in front of SWA gate area that added to the congestion.
No one had any concrete reason to close Terminal “A” and came up with unfounded statement i.e., we need better security, the existing airport gives the city a “black eye” we do not have enough food vendors and shopping, nothing but lame reasons with no foundation for their reasoning, just hype! The new terminal concept proposed did not provide one additional essential need for an airline to be successful at KCI. In the 2016 Moody report KCI had adequate gates, had an operational cost of $83M with revenues of $123M. KCI was operating in the black with 500 days of cash on hand and forecast to have 600 days of cash on hand by the end of 2017. KCI was Kansas City’s “Golden Goose” and helped fund the Kansas City Downtown Airport, building new hangars, overlaying the runways, basically renovating the airport with funds from KCI.
Somewhere around 2013, VanLoh, the City Council, and the Mayor’s office began their relentless effort to justify the need for this New Single Terminal. The Concerned Citizens for Responsible Government got a petition passed that required the City to put to vote the need for a new terminal. As you know, the aviation director closed Terminal “A”, closed Terminal “A” parking garage to the public, and established a group of business men/women to study the need for a new terminal. The group selected were handpicked by the Mayor’s office/City Council. Virtually none of the folks selected on this board, had a clue what they were trying to do and what they needed to do to justify a new terminal. After a year of stumbling around they concluded that the City needed to hire a “Consultant” to study the need for a new Terminal. From this recommendation, VanLoh and company hired a firm out of Boston to study the need for a new Single Terminal. Well guess what, the Firm did just what VanLoh and the City wanted, and came up with a study costing over $1M justifying that a new 30 domestic gate with 5 International gate Single Terminal was the best concept. What a surprise!!
What this firm failed to consider was all the previous studies, airport master plans, and the current terminal gate capacity (66 gates) that the three terminals provided. Several people balked at this report and Teresa Loar of the City Council actually contacted a local engineering firm (Crawford and Associates) who did a study at NO cost that virtually shot down most of the Boston’s firm’s findings and showed how renovating the existing three terminals and keeping the 66 gate concept was less expensive and provided at least 30 additional gates for the airlines to expand and or give the Airport Authority the opportunity to recruit additional airlines. VanLoh, and the Mayor’s office ignored Teresa Loar’s and Crawford Engineering firm’s input. Stating that there is NO WAY that Crawford’s concept was viable because they only took about 6 weeks to conduct the study therefore there is no way that Crawford’s finding could be accurate. Again not one concrete reason was used to invalidate Crawford’s work”
It seems that Allegiant is planning even more for KCI: http://www.bizjournals.com/kansascity/news/2015/09/25/allegiant-air-kansas-city-airport-plans.html
Mark VanLoh also said TSA Precheck would never come to KCI because the terminal layout could not accommodate it.
Somehow KCI succeeds with the current configuration in spite VanLoh’s predictions of doom and gloom.