I was able to attend Congressman Sam Graves’ KCI forum in Riverside on Monday. It was standing room only and those there were overwhelmingly opposed to the single-terminal proposal. No surprise. It was not a surprise to see most of the local print and TV news media there. Nor was it a surprise sadly, to see that the Star chose to lead with a pro-single-terminal sales piece from HNTB rather than the solid news piece from the event prepared by Dave Helling.
HNTB is an excellent KC firm and I’m glad they got the $900 million San Diego terminal job. But when the story is nothing but a presentation from their director of aviation archtecture who would love to earn a similar gig and paycheck from KCI, I have to ask if the timing of the story is “just a coincidence.”
Now San Diego is the latest “model” for us in the seemingly endless airport envy parade (cue Indy, Denver, Sacramento.) Obviously, in spite of our wonderfully mild summer, we are not San Diego. We handle half the traffic they do and they are projecting dramatic growth while there are many concerns surrounding KCI’s future traffic. That said, San Diego spent $900 million and added only 10 gates. Then again, the Aviation Department here is proposing $1.2 billion to cut our gates in half so maybe San Diego got a pretty good deal.
It took four years for San Diego to build their terminal or as one article from San Diego put it:
Years of detours and what seemed like endless construction will soon be over as the new Terminal 2 at Lindbergh Field is nearly ready to open. For the last four years, passengers arriving and departing San Diego’s international airport have had to deal with traffic and construction congestion, but all that is about to change.
Gee, that sounds like fun. More interesting though was this:
there was no major addition of space or remodeling performed at Lindbergh Field’s cramped and original terminal, which dates to 1967. That’s despite the fact that Terminal 1 is by far the airport’s busiest hub. It handled 9.4 million passengers last year, compared with the 7.1 million that passed through Terminal 2, according to airport figures.
So San Diego has two terminals connected by long walkways. And after nearly a billion dollars, their main domestic terminal still stands unimproved from 1967. KCI of course, is only a few years younger but has been continuously upgraded including a major renovation 10 years ago that maintained its signature convenience and more recent additions of restaurants past security and walkways connecting secured areas.
Yet even more interesting was this:
Airport officials are under pressure, however, to make some kind of Terminal 1 revamp. Even with the Green Build [Terminal 2], Lindbergh Field will only serve the region’s growing air travel needs into roughly the 2020s.
So they are a billion in with a solution that will only last 10 years?
Once again, another model that is not one we want to copy.
First of all, welcome back! Secondly, the first example that comes to mind of an airport that “re-modeled their existing facility, saved money and improved the overall passenger experience” would be KCI over the past 10+ years.
Agree to disagree. If passenger convienence is based on the JD power and associates studay and all of the folks on this board then yes I guess it is a great case study that all airports considering a renovation should look to for inspiration
Quote from article:
“Some who testified suggested linking terminals, or centralizing security screening. Others recognized the need for better de-icing systems.
Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/2013/08/19/4421680/no-new-kci-but-perhaps-some-upgrades.html#storylink=cpy”
I was not at the meeting but I still have yet to see an idea proposed on this board or any other public setting that makes sense from a financial or convenience sake? I am not suggesting a new terminal is the only way to go, but for those who are passionate about the convenience – how do we know that an overhaul will actually accomplish that objective?
The moderator of this forum loves to post articles about other “cautionary tales” but I haven’t seen any articles about an airport that re-modeled their existing facility, saved money and improved the overall passenger experience.
Brian I suggest you go to the Advisory Committee webpage on the KCMO.org site and review the presentation that was made regarding the conduct of terminal improvements going back to the early 90’s. I hear the presentation when it was presented and was very impressed with the details provided and the knowledge of the presenter.
For benchmarking purposes I use my experience in new construction and overhaul in two nuclear submarines, and a couple of Nuclear Power Plants.
After listening to the Airport School presentations one is left with some personal judgments regarding which of the two dozen major features of the airport services package to rank the most valuable.
Still preferences notwithstanding I think that upwards of $500M in new borrowing is unlikely to produce breakthrough payoffs that any stakeholder – including users – are going to find a sufficient justification for the cost and disruption involved.
Much the same thoughts from here. We – the appreciative KCI public – still have the opportunity to be heard, but it’s going to take some determination to penetrate the “fog of obsolescent rationales” that keep rolling out – even as the Advisory Committee already has everything they need to conclude that the current terminal arrangement is the “best” one Mayor James indicates he’s looking for.