Build new single terminal airport, airlines say

Lou Solomon before the council committee.

Lou Salomon before the council committee.

Major renovations of two of the three KCI terminals would cost more and not fix many problems that would be solved by a new single terminal airport, the airlines consultant said again today.

Lou Salomon, CEO of AvAirpros, told the city council airport committee that the airlines would soon come out with that recommendation and a financing plan.

The airlines and city need the right space and more options for a 40 percent growth in airline business by 2030, he said.

Airlines are already working under constraints that will limit growth, he said. “You’re maxed out here if you look at today’s environment.”

Councilwoman Teresa Loar, long a critic of a new airport, asked why the city did not open the closed terminal C to get more space.

“We have a whole terminal shut down and it’s empty,” she said. “I’m just saying.”

Salomon cited the costs to maintain and operate three terminals that are obsolete.

KCI opened in 1972 for smaller airplanes and no security and its physical constraints will not work, he said.

Loar and Councilman Dan Fowler also asked him about plans to build a new LaGuardia Airport in New York. That would have about 35 gates like the proposed Kansas City airport and could cost up to $4 billion.

“What happens if we end up with massive cost overruns and we’re looking at a $5 billion deal?” Fowler asked.

The projected costs for a new Kansas City terminal – under $1 billion – will not reach $5 billion, Salomon said.

He also noted that the Kansas City airlines would pay for the project and are on the hook for any cost overruns.

LaGuardia involves a three-level roadway and much more in a constrained site where trucks can only approach one way, Salomon said. “The logistics for New York and that site are extremely challenging.”

The next meeting of the airport committee is April 12.

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