KCI study group starts deliberations

Photo courtesy Kansas City International Airport New Terminal Advance Planning presentation.

Photo courtesy Kansas City International Airport New Terminal Advance Planning presentation.

The citizen group studying the future of KCI held its last regular meeting Tuesday and started deliberations.

In a quiet room deep in Union Station, the Airport Terminal Advisory Group broke up into tables. After many months of gathering facts, it was time to act.

Deliberation began on three options and how each would enhance key performance indicators – with convenience being a top indicator.

The three options are:

  • Keep the current multi-terminal airport with some enhancements like new parking. Rough estimated costs would be from $365 million to $700 million.
  • A major renovation and expansion that includes building a central processing structure. People would clear security there and things like trams and walkways would then take them to the two or three terminals. The estimated costs would be at least $700 to $900 million.
  • Build a new single terminal airport within the existing area. The estimated cost: $800 million to $1.2 billion.

Appropriately enough, group members started with convenience. Experts say the unique airport was built for that 41 years ago but airport needs and operations have changed dramatically.

But when the city aviation department moved forward with plans for a new single terminal airport, many citizens feared losing convenience and attacked the plan.

Consultants told the study group Tuesday that while KCI scores high on convenience, so do several new airports.

One reason the single terminal plan was up to $1.2 billion was that many features were put in for convenience, said Mark Perryman, president and COO of Landrum & Brown, the consultant that advised the city aviation department.

“How much do you want to spend to maintain the same level of convenience?” he asked.

For scoring purposes, the study group breaks convenience down into:

  •  Time from arrival at airport to gate
  • Passenger check-in process
  • Security check point user experience
  • Passenger waiting areas
  • Concessions amenities and restrooms
  • Landside curbside congestion

Another key indicator is adaptability/flexibility – such things as operations and efficiencies, expansion ability, and ability to handle large planes.

The other indicators are impression and impact, constructability, and affordability.

They will deal with affordability later, they said, as they hope to get a more firm grasp on the numbers.

“We really just need to put the costs on the parking lot for today,” said Bob Berkebile, group co-chair.

Whatever the ratings from Tuesday, group leaders said, they are just a first pass and will not govern their final decision.

The Airport Terminal Advisory Group is to submit its recommendation next month.

Leave a Comment