Archive for Sunday, December 9, 2007

Consultants: KCI needs one terminal

They say a new design would make the airport more efficient

December 9, 2007


— Despite criticism from some travelers, consultants continue to recommend that Kansas City International Airport's three terminals be replaced with a single terminal.

The proposed single terminal would be more efficient than the current three-terminal layout, consultant Russell Blanck told a crowd at a public hearing last week.

The single terminal would have one centralized security checkpoint, a concourse for concessionaires and shops and four wings for gates.

"We think this provides a very efficient scheme," said Blanck, a consultant for Landrum & Brown, an Orlando, Fla.-based firm overseeing the master plan.

Travelers who use the 35-year-old airport say they enjoy the convenience of walking a few hundred feet between their gate, baggage carousel and land transportation in the three, C-shaped terminals that now comprise KCI. They also say that KCI has fewer delays and shorter lines than other airports.

Roger Dutton, of Kansas City, said KCI is the most convenient airport he uses in his frequent travels.

"The security is more personal, efficient and of better quality," Dutton said. "It would be a dire mistake to change this concept, even if a single terminal would have lower security costs."

But airport officials say the three terminals will be at capacity in less than 20 years.

And the consultants and Kansas City Aviation director Mark VanLoh have said the current format is inefficient because it requires several security checkpoints and does not allow retailers to make maximum profits.

"We are looking 20 or 30 years down the road when more people will be flying," he said. "KCI will not be as convenient as it is now."

No costs have been determined. VanLoh said the city should receive a final version of the master plan next spring.

The plan would have to be approved by the City Council and then adopted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Because the FAA requires airports to update their master plans every 10 years, another master plan probably would precede construction of a single terminal, VanLoh said.

The recommended plan would provide access from the south, the consultant said. It would also have a covered parking garage and a light-rail station next to the airport entrance.

And with the wings, which are in something of an X shape, Blanck said travelers still would walk a relatively short distance.

The three existing terminals eventually could house smaller general-aviation operations, he said, while the terminal parking garages could be for long-term parking.


just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years, 5 months ago

"We are looking 20 or 30 years down the road when more people will be flying,"

Not if we pay attention to the realities of global warming.

Flap Doodle 10 years, 5 months ago

You mean Al Gore will have to use one of his SUVs instead of a jet when he goes out to spread hysteria? The horror, the horror.

JayhawksandHerd 10 years, 5 months ago

"Kansas City Aviation director Mark VanLoh have said the current format is inefficient because...does not allow retailers to make maximum profits."

I don't know about anyone else, but when I plan to go shopping, KCI is the first place I think of. Hmm...maybe Mr. VanLoh could be more direct by saying "we're not making enough money, so we want to do whatever possible to squeeze as much as we can out of our passengers." Of course, maybe my priorities are out of line, but I'm more concerned about the shortage of air traffic controllers than I am about a handful of overpriced retail hubs falling a few dollars short.

Tom McCune 10 years, 5 months ago

MCI was a huge mistake from the day it was built. The horseshoe-shaped terminals were modeled on the DFW terminals and they worked well before metal detectors. But metal detectors became required fairly soon after it was completed and now they need metal detectors at every gate. If you need to go to the bathroom (or buy something) while waiting for a flight you need to go through security multiple times. If security systems become even more elaborate in the future, they will need even more of the newer and more expensive systems at every gate.

The whole facility is in the wrong location due to crooked land deals that were made at the time. In hindsight, they should have acquired the old Olathe Naval Air Station, modernized it, and built a good terminal. That way it would have been in the middle of KC's growth instead of still in the middle of nowhere 35 years after it was built. Of course, that would have placed the airport in the hated Kansas instead of the sainted Missouri.

The "bottom line" to these mistakes is that they have never been able to keep an airline (even a secondary one) hubbed at MCI, and air service reeks as a result.

Richard Heckler 10 years, 5 months ago

Seems like a waste of tax dollars to me. Use what is there and customers will keep coming.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.