This breaking news just in from the Kansas City Star… “KCI is easy, and that’s why travelers want to save it.” Ok, the headline not only states the obvious, it drastically oversimplifies the issue. Yes, KCI is incredibly easy and is recognized nationally for it, but that is only one of many reasons that people are voicing objections to the $1.2 billion single-terminal proposal. And while our journalistic watchdog for freedom can sometimes seem more like an aging cat, there are a few items quietly tucked away that are worth noting in this morning’s double by-line, front page article. (And of course there is the long list of reader comments already pouring in.)
Early in the article we read this:
But whether or not the public believes it, they [supporters of the new terminal] say they can re-create in a modern terminal all the features that travelers treasure.
Followed soon by this:
Design concepts show the average walking distance to gates in a new terminal would be about 1,100 feet.
For those whose math is even worse than mine, 1,100 feet is the equivalent of 3.66 football fields in length. Or for golfers, it’s a par 4 compared to the chip and putt that we enjoy now. And this is “re-creating all the features that we treasure”?
However there is some good news. KCI is building an elevated walkway to connect passengers between Southwest security areas, eliminating one of the biggest connection issues and complaints heard over the past weeks. Total cost, $1.5 million not billion. And judging from the photo, it appears to be almost complete. So why then are we only hearing about this now? Why do those trying to sell the single-terminal still cite this as a reason even though we just spent $1.5 million fixing it. Is it like the guy standing in front of the new restaurants inside the secure area saying we need a new terminal so we can have restaurants inside the secure area?
Other items of note… Aviation Director Mark VanLoh is no where to be seen or heard in the article which is probably why we still don’t know why he said we have more security screeners than all three New York airports combined when we have about a tenth. We still don’t know why we intentionally created the terminal B crowding and parking mess. There is no mention of the deicing issue and how, since it takes place outside, it can be fixed independent of any terminal issues.
Nor is there any mention of market issues, business economics, aviation trends, competition and the litany of other considerations that are, and need to be, a part of this discussion. It’s much more than “KCI is easy.”
There does seem to be however, an admission finally that a new terminal is not likely to attract new flights. Yet the article still closes with the suggestion that we spend over a billion dollars to save a few million in operating expenses.
Read the entire article here.