KCI group prepares questions for airline firms

The Tuesday meeting of the mayor’s KCI advisory group adjourned early because of a city hall bomb threat, but it didn’t totally bomb.

The commissioners and their new consultant firm shaped some questions to ask airline company officials at the next meeting on Dec. 19.

A few members of the public were also allowed to speak but the building evacuation cut that short. Task Force co-chair Dave Fowler said there would be two town hall meetings for public input early next year.

The website for the group will also soon have a social media component where people can comment, he said. The 24-member group is to make a recommendation in April on whether or not to build a new airport.

Among the group’s suggested questions to the airlines:

  • What will make KCI a preferred airport; where does it stack up now and how can it become better?
  • How many gates does the airport need?
  • What are the best practices at airports and how does a model airport compare to KCI?
  • What are the trends for airports in the next 10 to 15 years?

KCI now has among the lowest cost per passenger of any airport in the nation, group members said, and they asked their consultants how airlines would feel about drastically increasing it as part of a massive upgrade.

Larry Balinsky, of consultant Frasca & Associates, said airlines don’t like to see such costs going up, but they also want quality operations that create a loyal customer base.

The higher costs for upgrades could also lower other airline operations costs, he said.

As for comparing KCI to other airlines, consultant Garfield Eaton said, “Every airport is very unique – it is sometimes difficult to compare.”

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