Part 2: A New Single Terminal Kansas City International Airport (KCI)

Part 2 – Kansas City’s Image and Economic Impact of a New Single Terminal

Imagine this. A homeowner decides to modernize the interior of their home. They hire an interior designer. They knock down walls, install an upgraded modern kitchen, incorporate cutting edge home fashion trends and install sleek modern furniture but they leave the old weathered front door in place. The neighbors and those driving by will assume the interior is just as rough as the front door.

That home remodeled on the inside with an old front door is our home, Kansas City.

Kansas City Airport Sign

Downtown is thriving with the Power and Light District, the Crossroads District, Farmer’s Market and the new Streetcar. There are new developments at every corner of the city. Championships by the Royals and Sporting KC have provided positive national press. KC is attracting technology companies, being nicknamed the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, and is rapidly becoming the logistics center of North America. Pockets of the KC Metro are recognized nationally for excellent schools and a crop of highly educated skilled workers.

So, Kansas City is pretty cool, but it has an ugly front door.

The first thing a corporate leader evaluating cities for a new corporate home sees when landing at KCI is a 44 year old airport. When our bio science and tech companies fly in recruits from either coast the first thing they see is a dilapidated old airport.

As they leave this shining city, the final and lasting impression will be the ugly front door as they catch a flight home.

KC’s regional business and civic leaders are in early discussions to identify opportunities to support plans for KCI and a potential single terminal design. The Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC) is the primary marketing organization, which works to position the KC region as a business and lifestyle destination.

“The KCADC leadership at both the staff and board level consider Kansas City International Airport to be an important regional asset for both business and lifestyle, and we have made it a priority to be engaged in the discussion regarding the airport’s future,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO, KCADC.

Some of the challenges for travelers using KCI are:

  • A security checkpoint at each gate, so travelers must use the bathroom and get snacks and magazines while in the concourse, because there is limited supply at the gate.
  • Passengers transferring flights must go through security if the connecting flight boards at another gate.
  • When transferring to a flight departing from a different terminal, passengers must exit the terminal building, find the appropriate shuttle bus, enter a different terminal and go through security again.
  • The airport has no space for an indoor shopping mall and assorted restaurants and bars that modern airports offer.
  • Limited dining options that close early, a traveler waiting on a transfer or a delayed flight has very few dining and entertainment options at KCI.
  • Due to security issues with curbside parking, finding a taxi is difficult.

The new terminal will improve convenience and image, but how does it economically impact area citizens?

  • If one doesn’t fly, it costs nothing. If they fly it cost $2.10 more per flight.
  • The One Billion Dollar project will be paid for by Southwest Airlines and airport fees paid by travelers, not taxpayers.
  • According to the Northland Regional Chamber of Commerce, the design and construction will generate 18,000 jobs and will be the largest economic development project in Kansas City in 50 years.
  • The new retail / gate nodes past the single security entrance with restaurants and retail will employ hundreds and increase sales tax revenues long term.
  • The additional gates will increase the number of airlines and passengers flying into and transferring at KCI, this means more airport fees.
  • It will attract major corporation and skilled workers from all over the world to benefit the economy of the entire region.

The new Single Terminal at KCI is a necessity for Kansas City. At minimal cost to its residents, the terminal will provide a front door to the city it deserves. The arriving passengers will immediately know that it is a vibrant, energetic and cosmopolitan city. It will help attract new talent from both coasts and attract out of state businesses to move to or put a satellite office in the Kansas City metro.

We’ve already made the investment city wide, it’s time to put a nice new front door on our city.

Click HERE for Part 1

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