KCI

Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

You may not be shocked to hear that Kansas City International Airport is in the running for "worst airport in America."

A poll being conducted by design and technology blog Gizmodo lists eight airports in contention for the title. The list of candidates was gleaned from nominations they solicited from more than 600 disgruntled travelers.

Currently, New York's LaGuardia Airport leads the poll with more than 24 percent of the 5,775 total votes. KCI has 6.4 percent.

Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

The recommendation to replace the three terminals at the Kansas City International Airport with one new building is still controversial among the general public.

But according to its final report, the mayor's airport advisory commission didn't find it was controversial at all.

Commission co-chairman Dave Fowler said Thursday that the panel began its study of the airport as a group divided in opinion, but finished in nearly complete agreement.

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

Moving one step closer to a final resolution on Kansas City International Airport's future, Mayor Sly James' task force recommended a new single terminal Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday's Up to Date, Steve Kraske talks with the co-chairs of that advisory panel about why it recommended this option, which has encountered fierce opposition in the Kansas City metro area.

Guests:

Alex Smith / KCUR

A slew of remaining questions prevented the KCI Terminal Advisory Group from making its official recommendation Tuesday morning.

The group, which was created by Mayor Sly James, is expected to make a recommendation to the City Council on one of three plans for the future of the Kansas City International Airport.

A citizen taskforce soon could make a recommendation for the future of Kansas City International Airport. 

After nearly a year of work, the group has narrowed the many possible options down to three — renovating the existing terminals and building new screening areas and parking facilities, revamping two terminals and connecting them with a central building, or constructing a new terminal. 

Architect Bob Berkebile helped draw up plans for KCI more than four decades ago. He now co-chairs the advisory group.

Interview highlights

Critics Express Concern Over Potential KCI Changes

Feb 25, 2014
Julie Denesha / KCUR

Mayoral investigators searching for best ways to improve Kansas City International Airport heard another barrage of public input Monday night.

Most of it was against radical change from multiple terminals. The most common sentiments were to update the existing structure.

Alan Norman said he finds the airport user-friendly but not perfect.

"There are some operating inefficiencies there and maintenance problems and security problems that are expensive," said Norman.

 

Representatives of the Federal Aviation Administration told Kansas City's Airport Terminal Advisory Committee Monday that their agency wouldn't pay very much of the cost of building a new terminal. But a consultants report suggested a new terminal building might help pay for itself.

Sandwiches, coffee and soft drinks could help pay for a new terminal according to Garfield Eaton of transportation consultants Frasca & Associates. He says KCI finished in last place for concession revenues among 20 airports studied - about 66 cents for each departing passenger.

Frank Morris / KCUR

Kansas City can finally hang a “no vacancy” sign on one of its largest and most important industrial buildings.  

In its heyday some 6000 people worked in the TWA overhaul base at KCI. The place is massive, a million square feet, more room than all three terminals combined. When American Airlines pulled out a few years ago, the place was empty. Now, after an intensive marketing campaign Mark VanLoh, Kansas City’s Aviation director says, it’s just the reverse.

Southwest Airlines announced Tuesday that it would begin nonstop service to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington, D.C., beginning Feb. 1.

Southwest received authority to serve the route after filing a petition with the U.S. Department of Transportation. The request was backed by the Kansas City Mayor Sly James.

In a release from the Kansas City Aviation Department, James said the announcement solidifies Kansas City's reputation as a top-tier, centrally located travel destination.

Airlines Lukewarm On New KCI Terminal Concept

Jan 14, 2014

Airlines that use KCI are not convinced a complete terminal replacement would help their business.

Airline officers took their turn appearing before the advisory group on the airport’s future.

The advisory group appointed by the Mayor is exploring whether to recommend a new terminal layout or renovate what’s there.

Southwest Airlines executive Ron Ricks spoke for all major carriers at the airport and said the current system operates well.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Overnight Wednesday, movers hauled US Airways' remaining equipment out of KCI Terminal A to Terminal C, but the future of KCI remains undecided.

City officials say Terminal A won’t necessarily be demolished, but closing little-used Terminal A saves about $2.5 million a year, says Joe McBride with city aviation.

Kansas City Aviation Department

Whether or not to rebuild KCI is still a hotly-debated topic, and Kansas City voters might have a say in the matter.

In the second part of Monday's Up to Date, the issue at hand is whether the airport, built in the early 1970s, can still efficiently serve the community's needs with its current infrastructure.

Guests:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

At Kansas City International Airport, Air Canada, US Airways and United are moving to Terminal C, and Terminal A is expected to close on Jan. 9, 2014. But what does this mean for the public artwork - inside and outside the terminal?

United Airlines and Air Canada were supposed to move Wednesday night from Terminal A to Terminal C at Kansas City International Airport, but those plans got delayed. 

KCI spokesman Joe McBride says technical issues were to blame.

“As they were getting into the eleventh hour of the move, the computer technology was not all coming on line,” said McBride. “So it looked like the airline was not going to have the ability to check people in be it at the ticket counter or the kiosk.”

McBride says he expects the terminal change will take place early next week. 

4 Things You Should Know About The KCI Decision

Aug 26, 2013
Julie Denesha / KCUR

Dave Helling of the Kansas City Star has been covering the potential overhaul of KCI. KCUR’s Susan Wilson sat down with Helling and had these four takeaways:

1. Taxpayers will not bear the weight of the $1.2 billion price tag.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Senator Claire McCaskill feels it’s too early to say how she would lean toward federal funding of renovations at KCI Airport.

The Missouri  Democrat  says she understands the single-terminal “A” concept stirs passions.

The Senator was waiting amid the noise of Gates Barbecue in Independence  when she talked with a pair of reporters, saying it’s too soon for serious conversation  about the airport since there isn’t even a proposal for change.

The Mayor has  appointed an ad hoc commission to recommend changes to the  airport.

KCI ARFF

It’s been more than 18 years since KCI had a deadly jet crash. But the crash of a jet at SFO in San Fransisco, Calif. last month is still fresh in the minds of the KCI airport firefighting crew.

Right next to KCI on the former TWA overhaul base, there is a boneyard of old planes, parts of them on pavement. One is an engineless 727 jet and airport Fire Chief Matt Mauer has just had a special crash truck spray it down with fire suppressing foam.

Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

Kansas City International Airport is looking at a potentially major change-- tearing down the current three terminals and moving to a single, new terminal.  

The one terminal idea came to a head in 2008 when the Master Plan called for a new, central terminal south of the current airport.  That came just 4 years after the airport wrapped up nearly $260 million in renovations.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

Kansas City’s airport advisory panel met in Union Station Tuesday morning.  Kansas City is looking at moving from its current three terminal layout to a new, single terminal.  Supporters of the new design say it’s a needed update to the 40-year-old structure because of security concerns. Opponents of the single terminal say the current system works well for travelers. 

The panel's co-chair, Bob Berkebile, says he learned a couple of things from what the group was calling airport school, and he notes getting informed is an important first step.

Kansas City Aviation Department

If you want to get people talking, just say three words: new airport terminal.

It seems that everyone's an expert on airport design and plans. After all, many of us fly through Kansas City International Airport.

Fresh Petition Attempt To Save Current KCI

May 16, 2013
KC Aviation Department

An ad hoc group trying to preserve the current building layout at KCI Airport is trying another tack to halt major changes at the complex.

Critic Of One-Terminal KCI Airport On Mayoral Panel

May 14, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

The “beginning” of a long process, is the way Kansas City Mayor Sly James describes work of a panel  he has set up to study future use of KCI Airport.

The group includes a strong critic of the current plan for a single terminal.

Two Dozen Will Advise Future Of KCI Airport

May 14, 2013
Dan Verbeck / KCUR

Kansas City Mayor Sly James  has appointed a 24 member panel to  study the city’s airport needs into the future.

KC Aviation Department

A city council that is nodding yes on airport officials' study of a new single terminal concept at KCI was not impressed with a plan to privatize the bus service at the airport.

Landrum & Brown / Kansas City Aviation Department

The Kansas City city council has voted to move ahead with laying plans for a single-terminal concept for KCI Airport.  though, that it doesn't guarantee that a new terminal will be built.

Kansas City Aviation Department

Crowd lovers have met their match at KCI, and for that matter any airport in the country today, the day before Thanksgiving.

Airport Plan Would Bring Changes To KCI

Oct 22, 2012
Kansas City Aviation Department

Observers have been given their first up-close look at the latest vision for the future KCI Airport, all built on the site of current Terminal A.  

Americasroof / Wikimedia Commons

A new plan has surfaced in the continuing discussion about how KCI's terminals should be modified.

Future KCI May Take Over Terminal A Site

Oct 18, 2012

A first look at the newest plan for a future Kansas City International Airport is out for examination. 

KC Aviation Department

The Kansas City city council heard a report on possible money-saving changes to plans for a new terminal at KCI airport Thursday.

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