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Demolish or Renovate? What’s to Become of Kansas City International Airport?

The Kansas City airport needs changes, that much is sure; but agreeing on what those changes should be is proving to be a challenge.

Kansas City International Airport (MCI) is facing a definite change of scenery. The airport is more than 40 years old, is lacking gate and security space, uses outdated operating systems and parts of its infrastructure are crumbling, but whether MCI will simply undergo renovation or see a brand-new terminal constructed is still up in the air.

At the behest of the city’s aviation department, a study was done to assess the costs of the two renovation options. The study’s findings, released last week, found that a renovation project on the existing structure would cost more than $1 billion, while a complete demolish and rebuild would be substantially cheaper.

In light of the study’s findings, Kansas City Mayor Sly James stressed that regardless of whether MCI gets a new terminal or a renovation, taxpayers will not be responsible for construction costs, as those will be covered by bonds that will be repaid through airline fees and concession sales at the airport. Despite the mayor’s reassurance, community members are still wondering how the debate will turn out and how it will affect them.

“It’s all going to come down to what the cost is going to be and whether the voters are going to stand for it,” Dan Coffey, leader of the Friends of KCI community group, told The Kansas City Star. “If they’re going to tear down the existing terminals the voters are going to want to know what they’re going to replace them with, and it better be good.”

The study group is expected to release a more comprehensive recommendation by next spring. At that time, the plans will then be put to a public vote.

[Photo: Kansas City International Airport]


Comments are Closed.
calrick July 28, 2015

I loved flying in and out of MCI... drop off at the curb and 30 seconds to the gate... what a gem... just polish it.

sdsearch July 28, 2015

The airport was designed before 9-11 in a way different from most airports with very little space to put airside (between security and the gate ramps). As a result, when more security was needed after 9-11, it may have continued to work well for many locals, but worked more poorly for people connecting, because there was no way to have one continuous airside for all gates for all airlines, with adequate airside facilities, despite it being on one terminal. For example, it has made it very hard to build stuff like adequate bathrooms airside, since there is so little space airside per gate, and so airlines are complaining about people lining up to use the airplane restroom as soon as they get on board, thus delaying flights.

DonCarpenter July 28, 2015

I have only flown from KCI once, but as dated as it was, it was a pleasant place. I can see why they'd need to update though.

Bluesman62 July 28, 2015

Good riddance! Lord help you if you have to do anything other than pull up out front and board your flight. It is a nightmare if you are stuck for any amount of time due to IRROPS or layover. Woefully inadequate seating, restroom, and food facilities inside the sterile area. I've seen lines 15-20 deep just to get into a restroom, and have had to literally step over passengers relegated to floor seating just to de-plane.

landgraf13 July 28, 2015

As someone who used to fly through MCI a few times a year for work I absolutely love that airport. Hands down one of my favorites. It brought me back to the days of old where you could pull up curbside and be on the plane often within 5 minutes, sometimes cutting it close. Yes it's not sexy or updated or state of the art, but then again, nothing in KC is. I'd take it any day over many of the more modern airports.