More public testimony on KCI

The KCI advisory group holds another public input meeting today on the controversial issue of whether to replace a popular airport that is four decades old.

The group will hear from people from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Southeast Community Center, 4201 E. 63rd St.

Those testifying will be asked to submit questions, name and address in writing and limit their talk to two minutes.

They can also submit written testimony to KCI Terminal

The group appointed by the mayor is to make its recommendations next month. But any city council decision could be delayed for two more years while airline and city officials consider the matter.

The advisory group has been studying the issue since last summer. Expert testimony has revealed several key issues:

  • The three terminal configuration is unique and  obsolete, designed for convenience before changes in security needs and technology.
  • It makes for convenient drop off, pick up and departure but is difficult for security, has very limited restaurant and concession space and a shortage of bathrooms past security gates.
  • It needs millions of dollars in work to repair it, and even then it will still be obsolete and need more work.
  • Airline officials have voiced reluctance about spending to replace it while other business leaders call it an embarrassment to the city that punches possible investors in the eye.
  • Citizens love the convenience and don’t want to lose it.

The group has put detailed answers to 21 frequently asked questions up at its web site.

One Comment

  1. Bill Mullins says:

    Having attended every meeting of the KCI ATAG I want to question you basis for the conclusion that the current terminals are “obsolete” and would remain so even after refurbishments.

    Obsolete is a relative term by its very definition; what benchmark among other airports or which alternative criteria are you using in arriving at your judgment? I hope you are not going by the second hand conjectures that have appeared in the Star – none of those withstand inspection against the actual record.

    There is widespread belief, both locally and outside the area, that the current terminal arrangement remains convenient despite the changes in security requirements in the years since it came in service. No systematic evidence or even qualitative analysis has been presented to the ATAG suggest that security at KCI is any more onerous than at other airports.

    The fact the frequent travelers encounter security arrangements at both ends of their journey, and the most often still favor KCI for its convenience suggests that these issues of security impact have in fact been normalized – certainly the cost is already accounted for and the fact that we have low costs of operation to the airlines accounts in part for our surplus of direct flights in comparison to comparable markets – that is on the record.

    Also on the record are several reports that KCI will soon have features to speed frequent travels through security just as at other airports. Regarding the originally planned terminal by terminal upgrades (i.e. before Van Loh’s Promotion Project took away the planning dollars to spend on his pipe-dream) – there is every reason to believe that even the baseline – maintenance of effectiveness – changes will result in a more capable airport user’s experience.

    As for being an embarrassing port of entry to the Region, consider the source. Is it really credible that a transportation terminal being easy to transit and relatively inexpensive to use, really qualifies as a big “hit?” This Region has many attractive venues for every kind of added service offered at the “airport cum malls cum theme parks” built in recent years by other cities.

    Our purpose built venues are of much higher quality; why would replicating these at the airport make sense? And then there’s the guy (reportedly a New York financial type – by our local economic development types) who thought today’s selling Wizard of Oz memorabilia was some how not “big league” enough – really?

    My suggestion – start with the convenience; make sure that when KCI flyers are being asked to sacrifice convenience that there is some reason to believe that the tradeoff will exceed the value sacrificed. From where I sit, nothing discussed at the ATAG thus far has come close to passing that Ho Ho Test.

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