While some city leaders are telling us that we need a new terminal to attract visitors and conventions, other city leaders are using the existing terminal arrangement to, you guessed it, attract visitors and conventions.
The Kansas City Convention and Visitors Association showcases the most recent J.D. Powers and Associates Airport Satisfaction Study wherein KCI was rated #1 in overall airport satisfaction in the medium size market category. Of course, those of us who actually use the airport already felt this way. Now our feelings have been validated nationally.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, KCI performs particularly well in three of the six factors: airport accessibility,check-in/baggage check and security check.
“The drive-to-gate design of the terminals and then, of course, the friendly Midwest employees are always what we hear about,” said Joe McBride, Manager of Marketing and Communications for the Kansas City Aviation Department. “While the design and people are always important, KCI has air service to most every major market in the United States, so access to and from Kansas City via air is very good.”
The article continues:
Because Kansas City is not a hub for any airline, no single airline has a monopoly over fares in and out of the city. As a result, Kansas City enjoys one of the lowest cost air travel markets in the country.
Think about it…
- airport accessibility
- check-in/baggage check
- security check
- lower airfares than other cities
Isn’t that 90% of what one designs an airport for? So if we are already the best, why spend hundreds of millions that we don’t have, knowing that we will likely lose everything that currently makes KCI #1?
Why do we want to trade our terminal system for one like Atlanta?
Who is really behind this proposal and what is the REAL agenda?
(Update: The KCCVA article noted above was taken down from the KCCVA website shortly after this post appeared.)
It seems that a lot of folks against a new terminal reference the 2010 JD Power study as a reason why we shouldn’t do anything. Interesting in the link below, two airports that we pick on, made the top 5 for 2013 awards. I am not suggesting we build a new airport to win awards but also not sure we can use the JD Power study as a powerful rebuttal.
Always two sides to any argument: http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2013/07/24/worlds-worst-airports-dumps-disgraces-and-big-bugs/2581015/
What? KCI is not even in the top 10 on ANY list! And what you’re basing this off of is a study done 3 years ago where it scored high in 3 out of 6 areas (airport accessibility, check-in/baggage check and security check). Why did it score so high in those areas? Perhaps it’s because there’s usually NO ONE IN THE AIRPORT. The only time I have to stand in a line is on a Friday afternoon.
I believe the best of both worlds is to modify terminal B into a new main terminal. Terminal A and C can remain as is and become air-side concourses to maintain the convenience to us locally once we deplane and a main terminal at B provide higher revenue / lower cost landside facilities to the city and airlines.
The cost of the new plan is not a realistic budget based on past aviation projects I was on or master plans required at each airport around the country. We do not want the cost of the project to increase landing fees which may force airlines to leave us with less options and leave the FAA, city and us with cost overruns with less convenience to area residents.
And then we can all take a horse-and-buggy home! I find it hard to believe that an architect can seriously defend the totally inefficient layout of KCI – and to imagine that anything can be done to Terminal B – or any of them – to make it the flexible, efficient machine required by the 21st Century. Are you thinking thirty years in advance or just holding on to the present? The best any airport or city can do is to try to anticipate the future – and there is simply no way the old terminals can ever have the smarts to do that. Progress is often risky; I think the welcoming of that risk is why anything happens. It’s why Kansas City is becoming the “cool” place it is – in spite of the nay-sayers.
All the comments are well taken but the issue is not do we need to change KCI, clearly we do but do we need to spend $1.2 billion to do so
I’m sure the single terminal idea is an outstanding plan and will work very well but at a cost of $1.2 billion, the same that was spent on the new Texas Stadium, that’s outrageous. It seems a shame to completely replace an airport that is clearly popular with Kansas Citians. After spending $400 million in renovations over the last 15 years and now gutting two terminals and one parking structure, it reminds me of the money the city spent on Kemper Arena 15 years ago only to have it replaced with Sprint Center.
I think for far less money, you could implement the following plan:
Close terminal C and lease it to private interests. Renovate terminals A and B by adding a second deck to be used for tickets counters, baggage check-in and TSA security. The second level would be accessible by vehicles so it could be used for drop off and curbside check-ins. The single TSA security area would be centrally located in each terminal and lead to an escalator down to the gate level that would be completely secure. This would leave lots of space for bars, restaurants, shops and waiting lounges at the gate level. The luggage carousels would be located at the extreme ends of each terminal in a non-secured area on the gate level. The gate level could now even be widened toward the inner part of the ring since you won’t need 5 lanes of traffic and a ten foot wide sidewalk in front of a non-exit-able level, except, on the ends where the luggage carousels are. Passenger drop-offs would happen on the 2nd level and passenger pickups on the gate level. Transferring passengers would never have to leave the secured area, unless they have to transfer to another airline in the other terminal (very rare). Less congestion in the pickup and drop-off areas since they are now on two different levels. One TSA checkpoint in each terminal and lots of room for the airlines to conduct their business.Each airline could have their own VIP lounge which the airport could finance in lieu of rebuilding the entire airport.
For local passengers, how about spending some of that $1.2 billion and add 8-10 levels to the terminal parking structures. Can you imagine how popular it would be if you could afford-ably park at the terminal in a covered parking spot, walk to an elevator that would deliver you to the second level sky-bridge and walk right up to security! When you land, you would walk right off the plane right to one of the 3 already in place tunnels and on a elevator to the level where your car is parked. We would have the best airport in the Country.
I spoke to Mark VanLoh about my plan and he is already convinced his plan is better no matter what it costs. With Federal money becoming much more questionable, he is planning on getting money from the airlines and issuing public bonds. He claims airlines are leaving Kansas City because our airport is so inconvenient. As a person in business for 35 years, I will tell you businesses go where they can cut their costs and maximize their revenues. I can’t really change the demand for air travel in Kansas City but I know lower ticket prices always improve traffic. If the airlines are forced to pay for our airport with higher rent, they surely will raise ticket prices to cover that cost. That makes KC less attractive to airlines not more as he promises.
He also claims that all exits on the gate level would have to be closed and the Fire Marshall would not allow that. Is there any reason you could’t have emergency only exits on the gate level with alarms on the doors. Its ridiculous. He said the infrastructure is 40 years old and hopelessly irreparable. Are you kidding me, for a couple of hundred million dollars, you could replace every elevator, air conditioner and escalator whether they need it or not. Kaufman and Arrowhead Stadiums were both be renovated for half the money he is proposing, so why is he so bent on completely redoing KCI?
He told me all of the gate area tarmacs would need to be completely torn out to install deicing fluid recapture drains. Given the fact that 1/2 of 1% of all flights that leave KCI need to be de-iced, I think he could build a de-icing area the planes could stop at if in fact they needed to be de-iced. He clearly is not spending his own money when he is coming up with his solutions.
He also said KCI is a working airport and cannot just shutdown to implement all of my ideas. Is there a reason they can’t move the gates in terminal A to terminal C while they complete the first phase of the renovation in terminal A. Only 10% of all flights leaving KCI currently depart from terminal A. When A is done, move the terminal B tenants to A and start working on B. This isn’t rocket science.
The city has been trying to implement a light rail project. Why not issue the bonds, follow my plan and build the light rail with the money left over.
Sorry to be so wordy but I’m writing this to help me understand how we can stop this train now before its too far down the tracks. I have yet to meet someone who doesn’t think my plan is fantastic except Mark VanLoh. Clearly it will take a public uprising to get his and the city councils attention. Even though half of the boarding traffic in Kansas City is from Johnson County, our opinion carries no weight since we are not Kansas City residents. Any thoughts?
Tim – I think your plan is well thought out, but I question some of your layout components.
I would imagine you would have to completely re-architect the base levels of each terminal in order to support a second story. I am no engineer but that sounds very costly to me.
I am not sure how putting the baggage claims at opposite ends would be convenient to passengers as now you are diverting all traffic on the lower level to each extreme end of each terminal to pick up passengers. That sounds like a potential bottle neck of traffic.
The other component you are introducing is more steps to the passenger journey. You are proposing folks check-in on the second level and enter through security in a central checkpoint. What if their flight is departing on either end of the terminal? That seems like a lot of potential steps to me.
Overall, I like the concept – but it seems like your proposal is mutating the current layout and the cost to do so might be just as much as a new terminal.
Hey Brian I’m all about compromise. Thats what this discussion should be about.
As far as luggage pickup, there is no reason why you could not at a 3rd luggage carousel just under the TSA checkpoint in the central part of each terminal. It would still leave plenty of space for shops, bars, restaurants and waiting areas on either side of the luggage area.
As far as steps checking in, there is no way, in any plan, you can avoid having some gates that are going to be a little farther walk than you would want if you are only going to have one security checkpoint. In my plan, the worse case scenario is having to walk from the midpoint of the terminal to the 1st or 30th gate. I think we could include some moving sidewalks in the budget.
If they could completely renovate Arrowhead Stadium and Kaufman Stadium for less than half the cost proposed to redo KCI, I think they could figure out how to add a 2nd level to two terminals for less than demolishing both buildings and starting over.
I am not sure what JD Power and Associates was thinking, but KCI is an outdated dump. We are way over due for a new aiport in KC with amenities from this century. I fly 30-50 times a year and KCI is the worst mid-size airport in the county, hands down. True you can walk in and get to security quickly. Notice I said get to, not always get through security quickly. The airport was built to work pre 9-11. It is not built to handle the volume of poeple trying to go through security on a daily basis or the volume of people stuck in the “fish bowl” once through the security check point. I mostly fly out of terminal B and if you don’t leave on a Monday morning it is a challenge to find any terminal parking, so there goes the convenience of parking close. If more than one flight is going out at a time you can have huge lines at security because the check point was not designed for that volume, that convenience is also gone. By the off chance you have to use the restroom or get delayed and need food besides a snack once through security, good luck. KCI is still the only airport that always has a line for the men’s restrooom so don’t plan on using the bathroom right before you get on a flight, there will be a line. Oh, if you would like to sit down while you wait for you flight, not likely…they can’t cram enough seats in the place to accomodate the passengers. To KCI’s credit they have tried adding some ammenities for the passengers after they are through the security check, but they just done have the room to make it practical.
So now if your flying into KCI there is nothing that sets it apart from other airports, postiviely. All airports have curbside pick up so that is nothing novel. What most airports do have that KCI does not is a decent baggage delivery system. KCI baggage carousel is the smallest I ever seen at an airport that serves a population this size. It is a challenget to jockey your way around the “mini-me” baggage belt and get your bag. Please back off this save KCI and support brining KCI up to date with the rest of the nation. We live in a great city, help travelers have a great first impression of us when they fly in. If you want to see a great mid-size airport with all the modern day conveniences that you can get through in under an hour fly to Tampa Bay, FL…that is a great airport.
I’m in support of anyone posting here who says, basically, “wake up” Kansas City! Stop being afraid of much-needed, critical progress! So thank you, P Hazel.
For those who are still concerned about winning awards, the best airport in North Anerica for 2012 as decided by the AIrports Council international was Indianapolis. Indianapolis recently built a brand new single terminal, having traveled there I can vouch it is very sharp. http://www.aci.aero/Airport-Service-Quality/ASQ-Awards/2012-Winners/Best-Airport-By-Region/North-America
I don’t live in KC but travel for business frequently and KCI is a frequent destination of mine, KCI is the least favorite of my collegues and me, and it does not create a particularly good welcome for visitors. So you arrive. It’s a dreary and unimpressive terminal. At most airports when you get off the plane you walk through a few rows of gate seats to get to a hallway. But in KCI depending on what gate you’re arriving and how busy it is, you sometimes have to snake through crowds of people to find the designated gate exit. Then you go to baggage claim. It’s not very far, but the bags don’t get there much faster because it still takes just as long to unload a plane. The drive for the baggage person is maybe 45-90 seconds faster than at comparable airports, but that’s about it. Then comes the rental car. Depending on where you are it can be a bit of a hike to the “right” door, where you must walk outside to the inner island where the bus shelter is invariable too small for the rush of people from your flight getting rentals. So you wait exposed to the elements for the bus to come to take you to the remote rental car center. (BTW at many airport of KCI’s approximate volume the rental cars are on site, which is much more convenient. That won’t change no matter what ends up happing at KCI, of course.)
When it’s time to depart, this is when KCI really falls short. Compared to your peers and to many airports far smaller, the amenities aren’t much better than a fancy gas station. It’s not uncommon when things go reasonably well with a client to have some extra time to squeeze in a meal, get a little work done, grab a book for on the plane, etc. KCI is among the worst airports to spend much time in. Ideally you try and cut it fairly close so you don’t have much time to spend there. But KCI is fairly remote so you have to worry about traffic (especially if you’re coming from the Plaza or JoCo). And you have to budget extra time for the remote rental bus. And at peak times, especialy on Southwest, security can be pretty congested and slow. (Elite lines are often non-existant or not operational depending on who you fly, too….not as available or reliable as other airports, which is crummy.) So you have to leave early for the airport *in case* traffic is slow or *in case* the car return is sluggish and the wait for your bus is long, or *in case* security and the ticket counter are congested. And for the 85% of the time those things are routine, you end up at the airport a lot earlier than you want when it comes to KCI. Sometimes if there’s enough time I’ll stop at Zona Rosa, but then you’ve got to watch the clock carefully. Even worse is if you get done with a client early and hope to catch an earlier flight. If they can’t get you on, then you’re really stuck. A few times I’ve walked between terminals (yes, you can do that) just to pass the time when I couldn’t get on my hoped-for earlier flight. Just about nobody goes to the airport to eat or shop, but when I’m at the airport and my flight isn’t for two hours, I like to be able to pick up a birthday present or grab a reasonable meal. To put it nicely, options are very, very limited at KCI.
As some others have said, it is a false comparision to judge KCI (the current convenience nor the projected new-terminal horrors) versus ATL, MSP, LAS, etc. Nobody is proposing the type of facility with long tram rides and marathon walks, and it would be foolish for such a design for an airport of this size category. I would love for there to be a study to determine how many travelers really have the mythical 40 steps from plane to car experience, and compare average time from plane to car or plane to rental car versus similar airports. It may be that times are shorter in KCI, but I would not bet it is much.
KCI is somewhat iconic to Kansas City, and if people want to save it for that reason I understand. Wrigely Field is a pretty crappy fan experience in an objective judgment, but it is quite an icon. Wanting to hold on to KCI for that reason I can understand, even if i don’t necessarily hold that opinion. But I think the mythology of KCI as convenience perfected is overblown. And for the people who use KCI who originate elsewhere or who connect there…perhaps a bit more than half the total volume…it’s actually a pretty crappy place. And it is definite not an impressive entryway to your city.
Dale – thanks for sharing an outsider’s perspective. I appreciate your point of view but not sure if most on this site who are posting will agree.
True enough….and although user fees generally pay for airport improvements, it’s fair for locals to be concerned that they’ll get stuck with the bill for ancillary or associated projects.
KCI is a unique airport, and if the new terminal plan does not come to pass, I hope they do find an alternate plan which improves the customer experience one way or another. With the big chunk of money being floated for a new terminal, I would wonder if perhaps a fraction of that could be used to do something like consolidate into two terminals and build upwards – maybe an upper deck roadway for departures, ticketing and improved concessions, and the original level just for gates, arrival and baggage.
Dale – that would be great, if we could add to the existing layout. I am not sure how much it would cost and/or improve the current experience.
Thank you for this, Dale. I see a few far-sighted people are posting here – not just the nay-sayers and NIMBYs! Many of them don’t seem to understand the really basic, unsustainable, non-viable inefficiencies of the current layout, i.e. it simply can’t be worked with. Maybe they’re not actually reading the proposals in detail, I don’t know. But I do know that Kansas City is a center of 21st Century innovation – often in spite of (certain) Kansas Cititans. The good news: I don’t believe this backwards-looking “movement” will actually stop anything – as the needs of the future at KCI are too real and pressing to ignore.
Here is an example of another airport rating website, one that focuses specifically on the industry http://www.worldairportawards.com/index.htm
You will notice that KC is not listed on here, for a number of reasons.
Build a tramway from each of three current terminals and place it AFTER TSA check in; and this will eminate the problem of changing terminals and having to go through another TSA check in. For a long time, I couldn’t bring a drink or something to eat on the plane because I had to go through TSA check in. Well, that was fixed easitly enough by adding food & drink vendors AFTER TSA check in. Save the money and preserve the great service. If we have more TSA employees because of three check ins, so what? Someone has a job.
I love the comment with the picture from Hartsfield-Jackson asking why we would want to trade our terminal system for one like that. That question requires a very simple answer. LOOK AT THE PEOPLE! What Kansas Citian does not want that kind of revenue entering our city? The miseducation in this city is tragic. Are there other infrastucture issues in KC? Absolutely. Is the money being used to fix this eyesore of an airport taking away from those issues? Absolutely not.
It seems that the general populace is completely fine with inadequacy and status quo instead of dreaming big and reaching for the stars. Is that due to ignorance, laziness or so that we can hold on to that “chip on the shoulder” that KC is one of America’s “best kept secrets” and that the reason the rest of the world thinks we’re synonymous with Oz and write us off as a joke is because of some “coastal media bias”?
Revenue is what makes this machine work. Does Kansas City want to continue to lose out on conventions and business partnerships to cities like Memphis, Omaha and Oklahoma City or do we want to regain the title of “Paris of the Plains”? Granted, I realize that the airport is not the only piece that will bring adequacy to his struggling, dying, once proud metropolis, but it sure is a hell of a place to start.
I think the real agenda is clear, MCI is costly to run as three terminals and if you have flown out of Terminal A or C recently, you’ll find them deserted. Passenger traffic is down for Q1 of 2013 and with all the economic development in KC recently, we need an airport capable of international travel if we’re going to keep up with the rest of the world. I love MCI, it’s convenient, but it’s time for change.
Air cargo tonnage, representing freight and air mail, increased by 18.9 percent in January compared with the same period in 2012. Freight handled at KCI in January totaled 16.8 million pounds, representing a 19.8 percent increase from the year before. Air mail was down by 8.6 percent from January 2012.
As far as passenger traffic being down there are a lot of factors that affect that. The economy, the time of year, etc. A new Airport isn’t going to suddenly transform Kansas City into a premier international destination either. As far as keeping up with the rest of the world it seems maybe we should get over our inferiority complex first so we can make sound decisions for a change instead of desperate measures to stay afloat.
Ted – I am not sure that anyone is promising a premier destination if a new terminal is built. At the meeting, I recall the department stating that no one knows what the impact of new flights will be.
I think the main point is that a new set-up will be much more ideal for a single airline wanting to offer a few flights. Today, unless the airline has another airline sub-contract ticketing and baggage, it makes no financial sense to lease one gate and pay for TSA to open up a new security checkpoint.
You can’t have a better layout for an airport than KCI has. If they want to add to it …Fine! The question is… Who benefits financially from this? As they say…”Follow The Money Trail!”
In my years of traveling, KCI is definitely my favorite airport. It is a very easy airport to get in and out of. It doesn’t have a lot of restaurants and shops because you don’t get stuck in it for long periods of time. I would guess someone somewhere will benefit greatly by building a new airport, but I’m pretty sure it won’t be Kansas City citizens and travelers.
I would love to see this put to a vote somehow, but I’m sure it never will be because it is too likely to fail.
Scott – 15% of Southwest travelers use KC as a connecting point. Not a high number but there is thru-traffic.
The airport has the lowest revenue per concession in the entire country. Not a good figure if you are trying to make money to cover costs.
After just having come through the Orlando and Atlanta airports, I was elated to be back to our KCI. The parking, and small individual terminals, ease in security checks, curbside drop-off, etc, etc all make KCI the most user-friendly airport I have ever been in. I think the current shops and restaurants available are completely adaquate. I don’t go to the airport to shop or be entertained. We have picked up and dropped off many visitors through he years, and they all comment on the convenience of our airport. The recent upgrades and improvements have been well done. Sure, there may still be some problems that need to be addressed, ie additional seating, so how about we address those and leave the rest alone? Do we need to spend millions? For what? Let’s spend money on the many other issues in KC that are really needed if and when money is available. I think what is needed is thoughtful, intelligent consideration to leave the awesome airport we have, put the checkbook away, and carry-on providing convenient, friendly service to airline travelers.
Lorraine – the planners do not intend to build the next Orlando or Atlanta. While the shops may be adequate to you, what if you were stuck at KCI due to weather or a layover? The other statistic I might mention is that KCI has the lowest per revenue figure per concession stand in the country. Not a good number to have – like any business the airport is trying to make money.
The recent renderings suggest that you will still be able to pick up your visitors at the curb and in some cases their walk may be shorter than it is today.
I looked at the actual study summary chart with scores.
1. It’s not a statistically valid study per their own admission.
2. KC was ranked #1 in the medium size. There were large and small buckets as well. The busiest airports ranked lower than the less busy airports in each bucket consistently.
The scores within each bucket, large medium and small averaged higher the smaller the airports got. So the small bucket had a higher average than the medium bucket and so on.
That simply tells us smaller airports are liked more than large ones by more people. That economic success leads to people liking their airport less.
That there’s not very many people using it is a horrible reason to keep the design.
The general public does not understand that planners do not intend to create the next Atlanta, Denver or LaGuardia. Their objectives are to create a single terminal that offers many more conveniences than we are used to today (both airline and passenger).
The JD Power and associate study was released three years ago, and the airport actually had to pay JD Power to issue a joint release with the award.
As some of the folks mentioned above, the arrangement today prevents us from attracting additional carriers. Take for example, a carrier who wants to offer 3-4 flights a day. Based on the current configuration, they would have to lease gate space from the airport (which is typically divided into 3 or more gates per security checkpoint) and ask the TSA to open up a new security checkpoint. All of these costs are not conducive to an airline that only needs one gate for their 3-4 flights.
I have lived in KC most of my life and don’t like KCI. There are very few nonstop flights from KCI unless you are going to Chicago, Atlanta or Dallas. A recent trip to Florida took over 6 hours because there were no nonstops available. Not very convenient in my opinion. The fact is that the airport is economically obsolete(HVAC alone is a nightmare with all the doors), which causes airlines to avoid the airport, evidenced by the fact that we are seeing ever decreasing levels of service. Less service makes KC less competitive in attracting businesses and requires everyone else to waste time connecting to get to their final destination. Washington National and West Palm Beach are models of convenience and efficiency in my opinion, and something that the aviation department should seek to emulate.
Please save the airport. Great design.
You are miss leading people whom don’t know what passenger traffic is at our nation’s airports. Building a single terminal airport at KCI (MCI) will not turn that airport into Atlanta’s. Not even close.
I will be flying into MCI in June. Since I was unable to get a direct flight from LAX to MCI flying United, I will have a layover in Denver.
KCI is quite possibly the worst airport ever opened. Its time to step up and bring Kansas City into the future with a new airport. As usual the nay sayers of Kansas City are stepping up to try to stop any progress whatsoever.
The taxpayers are not on the hook here. The airport will be funded by the fees that traveling public have been paying for years as a fee on their ticket purchases.
Lets tear down this joke of an airport and move forward!
Thank you, Dave. Agree completely
You are completely wrong. MCI is a perfectly good airport, and I fly >100k miles per year in and out of the thing.
“Progress” people like you have no semblance of economic sense. KC Metro cannot afford $1.2 BILLION in this economic environment to replace something that is cosmetically dated at worst (and I happen to like the retro feel of it).
Moe – the KC metro isn’t paying for this new airport, rather folks who use it are paying for it, which I understand includes people who live here but also people who live in Sedalia, Marshall, Sioux Falls, etc. Much like the rental car and hotel tax paid for the sprint center thus no direct impact to folks who live here.
You are right about the ‘progress’ people, guess that explains why places like Austin, Charlotte, Portland,etc. are not thriving.
Preach it, Dave!
So right, David! You’ve said it better than I could! Welcome to the 21st Century people.
We have traveled all over the country and abroad. This is the easiest airport to get around anywhere. It seems foolish to spend all that monies to make it like the other airports. If you have change flights for example international you have to allow 2-3 hours between flights to get across these airports. We are now older and it is very stressful and exhausting to do this. Keep kci as it is. Keep it up to date and good transportation between terminals and we are good to go.
For the past 20+ years I have traveled extensively throughout the US as well as overseas on a regular basis. Airports I am intimately familiar with include Atlanta, DFW, El Paso, Cincinnatti, Indianapolis, Philedelphia, SEATAC, Portland, SFO, LAX, HNL, Norita, Kimpo, Inchon, Fairbanks, Anchorage, Harrisburg, Raleigh-Durham, Willmington, Jacksonville, Savannah, Nashville, SLC, Boise, JFK, LaGuardia, Detroit, Minniapolis, Madison, O’Hare, Harrisburg, Frankfurt, Munich, Tulsa, Ft. Smith, and probably some others that I don’t readily recall. My experience as regards parking, check-in, security, etc. is that KCI is by far the most traveler friendly of the whole lot. Kansas City should remember the airport is not there for the city, it is there for the travelers who travel to/from/through Kansas City.
I should note that the other very traveler friendly airport I have passed through repeatedly is LAX, which has a similar configuration.
LAX has a similar configuration to KCI? When did they get rid of the concourses at LAX? The only airport that I can recall with a similar configuration to KCI is DFW, which was built about the same time as KCI.
Jim – you are correct, it is there for the travelers who have to connect. Do you know of anyone who had a connection in KC that enjoyed the experience? What about someone who was stranded?
I have traveled for business since 1988…we have the best airport in the US …it has become more of a challenge since 911 but I think if we just redo the security clearance instead of the airport we will be saving a beautiful functional facility… I LOVE our airport…thank you for presenting this logical perspective 🙂
I have been in most of the major airports in the United States. KCI is the easiest and most convenient I have been in.
Also the curbside drop off is awsome! My wife needs assistance traveling and moving her from the curb to the gate in a hundred feet or so is great. Compare to a quarter or half mile like Denver or LAX, or Vegas, KCI is much easier.
KC threatens layoffs of cops and firefighters then wants to spend $91 on something we don’t need or want!!!
Is there any logic in the Ivory Tower? Or the Aviation Dept? Do they need something to do?
I am sure we can find more necessary things to spend money on.
The city isn’t going to build the next Denver or LAX. Common misconception. They are building a single terminal with 37 gates, far fewer than Denver or LAX. Believe it or not, it is possible to have one terminal that is easy to navigate in and out of.
I have traveled around the world. I understand people wanting the malls of airports like Denver, but from ease of use I prefer it as it is now. There would have to be a pretty significant upside to force us to go the security lines and nightmares of other airports. I will be interested in hearing the other pitch. I am over more taxes for unnecessary expenses.
Mike – we are not building a Denver or O’Hare. Unless the metropolitan KC area grows by millions over the coming years, the security line length will not be any longer today. In fact it will probably be shorter (a la Southwest on a busy day), due to more security lanes.
That is not true, I have been through so many airports with single security areas, no matter how big or small the airport there is always a line. I also don’t believe that with as many flights as go though MCI that there will not be a line. Last flight I took, I didn’t even have to stand in line…are you promising me that, if so I might jump on board. For me I would rather spend more money and have convenience than to have to show up an hour and a half early to get to my plane. Also, there has been research done that says that security though fully staffed is not as accurate especially after the first hour that they have worked. So imagine having them screen 2 plus times as many people–nightmare. Plus at MCI it is nice to have your family be able to stay with you until you go through the security which is right by your gate so you can wait longer before going through. Maybe they should consider placing trams instead between the terminals and to the parking, this would help the environment (a la decreased buses), and improve convenience for the passengers since that is one argument that I have heard for the 1 terminal airport.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken! Spend less money wisely to retain the KCI (MCI) multi-terminal, that is so easy to use.
Nice publicity stunt by a PR firm.
I have loved KCI for many years, but I must say that today I think it’s a 20th century airport that is behind the times. I think it IS broken. Amenities I’d love to see in Kansas City – real bathrooms, shops, drinking fountains, ample seating, and restaurants past security for all airlines. And what about TSA Pre-Check! I also understand that our security costs are out of proportion for the size of airport. Perhaps there are ways to maintain the uber convenience of KCI while addressing the above mentioned issues. I’m not creative enough to think of such solutions. But I do think that we need to find a way to enter the 21st Century, one way or another.
With all due respect they have real bathrooms, I have never had to wait in line to use them, unlike other airports where I did stand in line. I have never had a problem getting something to eat at KCI. I do not shop at airports I shop at shopping centers. You can take the security cost compared to spending over 1 billion dollars, I do not think that is an economically rational argument. Last but not least I am tired of of being paying user fees and taxes so that politicians can build monuments and say “Look at what I did”.
Paul – how else do you propose that we fix, maintain or build new airports in America? If we get rid of the fees….where do we get the money?
Repair what is needed. Rearrange the carriers to alleviate airplane traffic. To spend money on an unnecessary new terminal at this ‘iffy’ point in the monetary situation we are experiencing is insanity! Signed by 32 year airline employee.
Due to the terminal configuration, KCI has the lowest walking distance to gates of any airport I know. You dont have ride a toy train to get to another terminal then walk a half mile to your gate. Paying a slight increase in airport usage fee to keep the TSA team we now have and make some modifications to accomodate security needs is the answer – we dont need new terminals. The rationale behind the proposed project is big money: 1) at a time when the federal deficit grows out of control, there is lots of federal money looking for projects like this. 2) city officials would like to generate sales tax revenue by having restaurants and stores inside the secure areas 3) KC has big engineering and architect firms that will try to influence decision makers to promote the project and use their services. Cutting government spending has to start somewhere- lets kill this pork project to show it can be done. If you agree, contact politicians at all levels, because every level of government wants this project. Its sad that the traveling and voting public has little say in this process.
I agree with your comments John in Liberty. I have to think that another motive for rebuilding the airport is to attract an airline hub with its subsequent additional jobs for headquarter employees/overhaul/maintenance bases, etc. which would be a nice goal but Kansas City doesn’t have the money for this. They have sewer issues and school problems that money needs to be spent on. It seems stupid to tear down an award winning airport for a big unknown cost.
Schools are funded by property taxes, sewer repairs are funded by water bills, airport terminals are funded by user fees. They aren’t competing for the same pot of money.
Thank you, Jeremy. Agreed.
In response to Kelly’s comment about adding jobs, which we’re all for, the reality of those created jobs would be off set by the reduction of approximently 250 to 300 TSA jobs at the airport. KCI has already created jobs. Would enough long term jobs be created at the new terminal, to justify these people losing theirs. It takes more employees to keep America safe than it does to put them in the air. The job math doesn’t work. Probably all about tax revenue; certainly not about job creation!
John in Liberty – when was the last time you were for a project that utilized government spending?
I use to fly a lot. Getting out of MCI is a breeze and very nice compared to major airports such as Minneapolis, Chicago, LA, Miami, Orlando, Houston, ect. This is a very attractive quality, however, lack of vendors and restaurants in MCI make layovers and flight delays a nightmare. Major improvements need to be made to MCI. Is one big terminal the answer? I don’t know.
Layovers?? How many actual layovers take place in a day at MCI? Since it is not a hub, that makes the chance of a layover slim therefore the “need” for vendors / restaurants is a very slim “need”.
Are you serious? Why do you think we don’t have many layovers? And why we will never be a hub! Do you think it might benefit our city to have an airport that could be a regional hub, have more direct flights out of it? Do you think that might attract some businesses to Kansas City? I know, why don’t we make the airport smaller and have less flights, then we won’t need any restaurants at all! I’m sure that will be very convenient.
Matt, we don’t want a hub. Hubs mean monopolies, hubs mean higher airfares. I don’t mind one bit connecting through another city to save some money. I’m never in that big of a hurry.
Jeff – roughly 15% of Southwest passengers transfer at MCI.
Please show me this math, out of 9 million passengers in 2013 (give or take) only 265,000 were connecting, 2 1/2% percent are connecting, so i really doubt 15% of southwest are connecting…
Actually, the number Southwest presented to the Airport Task Force was a little higher than that.
But to your question, if you take half of 9,000,000 to approximate inbound traffic and then take 40% of that for SWA’s share and then take 15% of that, you have 270,000 +/-.
The bigger issue though is that SWA wants to bring more connecting traffic here which results in more non-stops for us. One of the reasons they do it is that it costs them less to make that connection here than elsewhere. The question becomes if we triple their costs with a new terminal, will they take those connections elsewhere?
Friends from all over the country flying into this airport love the convenience of picking up their bags, literally feet from where they deplane! Same with flying out- Ticket counter, walk a few feet, get on the plane! This is a no-brainer. Are you kidding me? Don’t destroy one of the reasons people come here and spread good thoughts all over the world about Kansas City!!!
I love the present design. It is extremely user friendly. When my mother was alive she could travel here with ease. She had very limited mobility. The wheelchairs were quick to come off the planes. Given the proximity of the gates to the exits, I could pick here up easily. As the population ages, a lot of individuals are not going to want or be able to transverse the long concourses that come with the single terminal design.
I see the proposal of a new design as an attempt to build job security and/or McBride empire building.
Why waste tax dollars on a new airport?
It is broken, that’s the problem!
It is about time someone is starting to speak up about the replacing of KCI. It is not necessary, it is the greatest airports around. Our family has traveled the world with the military and we will tell you KCI has been the easier airport ever for departing and returning. Family when visiting us (who live in LA, NY and VA) — just love arriving here as they do not have to wait forever for luggage plus not having to arrive 3 plus hours before there return flight. Leave the airport alone!!!
Joan – why would people have to wait three hours before a return flight if KC builds a new terminal?
Because the new single terminal proposal(s) have a single security area. CHOKEPOINT, LINES, DELAYS, Just like grown up airports have. Many of us have been to Denver, Atlanta, LAX, O’Hare. Why spend taxpayer money to emulate their problems? A giant step backwards.
I have traveled extensively and been in hundreds of airports and KCI IS the best.
Follow the money on this one and see who is behind the curtain. For taxpayers sakes
please don’t ruin the best airport in NA.
I for one would hate to see major changes to KCI. We have the best “user friendly” airport in the country. Why are they looking at major overhaul options? Spend some money on improvements and modifications.
I too agree there is just something so fantastic that when you get off the plane and walk up you can instantly see your family and not have to wander the airport for a while till you see them plus I love being with my family clear up till I have to go in that way I can see them as much as possible. PLEASE DON’T CHANGE IT!!!
Creative changes to the existing space need to be reconsidered before scrapping everything for a new facility. Has anyone seen a feasibility study for modifying the existing terminal?
Having worked in the airline industry for 10 years, I have experienced more airports in this country than I would care to admit. What we currently have at KCI is exceptional. It is a better experience compared with any of the others, new or old, around the country. Some additional modifications just might take care of the minor upgrades on the wish list and would make a new $2 billion terminal unnecessary.
KCI or MKX, is great the way it is. The only people wanting to spend money, are the people that stand to make the most money$$$
We have a very people friendly airport, easy in and easy out.
For the spectaculars, go spend your money else where.
Wyandotte County always looking for new investments.
If it’s not broken why fix it. If someone’s insisting on fixing what isn’t broken this one must look at the money trail and who stands to benefit. When you figure out the one who will benefit then that means someone or group of someones will be paying. In this case namely the tax payers.
So by not fixing something that’s not broken we save the tax payers 1 billion dollars. What about taking that amount and returning it to the tax payers in other ways like better schools, better water and sewer, and better streets rather than a boondoogle that will make one or a handful of companies rich only to serve a the few that use the airport in comparison to the multiple thousands who will pay?
Great for you! Great for us! Thanks for making this website. Let’s do this! Let’s save the original, existing KCI. It makes too much sense. We like it, it works and it would be not only a huge waste, walking away from the buildings there now but it would also be a huge expense.
And you know who’d end up paying for it, right?
II say LEAVE IT ALONE !! I love it as is
Keep it like it is!!
Here it is! The terminal design is outdated and the security costs are too high for the airlines. Fixing up this inefficient dinasour would be also costly and would not make back the money as a new efficient terminal. The concrete is all cracking and will soon be unsafe. The current design is bad for our environment, because in the winter deicing fluid goes into environment killing fish. The water pipes are leaking, and electrical lines are getting to old. The costs of heating and cooling are too high and outdated. The concrete beams are cracking and will soon be unsafe to passengers. If we had an earthquake the concrete design may not hold up at all, as it is proven in other cities. If we redo and fix it up we will have a fixed up inefficient airport that would never make back the money. a new terminal would, with cost saving to operate. When Terminal A closes in Dec, due to high operating costs, we will have two full terminals that will soon be unsafe to operate in and airlines will not want to come here. Airline fees operate your airport, not your tax dollars folks1
Hi Bill, thanks for joining the conversation! I appreciate your comments here and on the other posts but I’m afraid I must respectfully disagree.
The terminal design is just as innovative today as it was 40 years ago as evidenced by its popularity among the vast majority of people who use it.
Are there issues to address? Certainly. Does security cost more? Yes. But when you divide the additional cost by the number of passengers, it is a tiny amount and easily worth the convenience of shorter lines.
I don’t know that I’ve ever seen concrete that did NOT crack. It can be repaired like the concrete at the Sports Complex. Remember, City Hall is also concrete and is twice as old.
The de-icing issue has nothing to do with the terminal as the airlines would prefer to de-ice closer to the runways anyway. There is already a solution for that issue independent of the terminal.
HVAC systems can be updated and replaced. There are water leaks that are close to electrical (there are not issues with the electrical lines themselves) as well as other maintenance items that appear to be more a result of poor maintenance than age. Again, there are hundreds of commercial buildings in KC that are significantly older than KCI yet somehow we manage to keep them maintained. The issues cited are not unique to an airport.
The airlines have expressed no concerns regarding the safety of KCI and the vast majority of KCI’s operating funds (nearly 50%) come from parking. Landing fees make up only about 16%.
And when you are comparing the expenses of a new vs old terminal, don’t forget to include the cost of financing the new one. Some early estimates place that at close to $60 million a year before you even turn on the lights.
Again, thanks for jumping in!
Its important that both sides be viewed. i stand by my convictions though. Fixing up this terminal is like buying a 1978 Crown victoria, putting 20 K in it for repairs and restoring, and then using it for business. And yes only 30 percent of the glycol is recovered. With the new terminal it will be 100 percent. Good news for our fish and environment. This terminal was built in the late 60’s and early seventies. Time to update. Thanks for your attention. Just want the other side to be seen. In my opinion it would be a bad mistake to try to fix two old terminals that are not user friendly to the airlines. To the passenger it is. But that 1978 Crown victoria, is sure easy to get in and out of.
I agree which is why I started this site in late March. Prior to that there was very little of the “opposition” side being heard or sought. The only thing we saw were the proposals and the sales pitch from the city.
And again, the glycol recovery has nothing to do with a new terminal. They could fix that tomorrow if they wanted to.
Earthquake? Really??? When was the last time that happened in KC causing extnsive damage?
What everyone should do is go to flykci website, and read about the new terminal and what it can do. Have an open mind. The new terminal is a special project for Kansas City.
There are also links to that information above. I want people to read about it. Open minds swing both ways and the more people know, the more questions that can be asked.
Go to you tube. Search for video KCI’s EPA woes. Important to learn about. Our environment needs a change. What could be more important than that.