Airport Delay

Last week when the airlines presented their recommendation to Council, I said we need a new airport terminal because we need to continue to grow. I still think that’s true.

We need a comprehensive change in our transportation system – and that includes our airport terminal. And buses. And rail. But I’m not willing to do this if we can’t grow together as a city. We’ve been conducting outreach to the residents, business and civic community and it’s clear that our City isn’t ready to move forward with the KCI conversation right now.

In fact, less than 40% actually think moving forward with a new terminal paid for by the airlines is a good idea. I arrived at my conclusion that a new terminal was needed based on facts and data. And as we have considered how to get this job done, the facts and data are clear – the time is not right for our City to do this. I think we are best served by pausing this conversation and focusing on our City’s other priorities.

We need a plan to address our infrastructure needs. We need to lower our crime rates. We need more quality education seats in our classrooms. And we must continue to make government more efficient while planning for the future.

We can walk, talk and chew gum at the same – but we must do it as a unified city. When I ran for Mayor I promised to do what is right for the whole city and I meant it – even if it means pulling back on an idea I personally feel strongly about.

So, what happens now with the airport since we’ve come that far?

The team that negotiated with the airlines completed their work when the recommendation was made last week. So, the negotiations have ended for now. The City will extend the current MOU with the airlines that outlines their leases with the Aviation Department. Voters will not be asked to approve anything related to the airport in 2016. Although I still feel a new terminal is inevitable, it’s clear that time is not now.

And I’m going to continue to focus on the things that got me this job I love so much – making government work better, adding good-paying jobs to our City, equipping every student a world-class education, and cutting down on the crime that still takes too many lives.

I want our residents to know that I listen to them, I care about their perspective and their opinion.  It matters. And because we are listening at City Hall, we’ll press pause on this conversation.

13 thoughts on “Airport Delay

  1. Total fail by the mayor of our city. Wasted tax payer money on all of the studies and all of the trips made on behalf of new terminal.

  2. Many times a majority of people that live in Kansas City, have not wanted improvements until it is fully explained to them. Then we are on board. I was only recently convinced that a new terminal is the best option for KC. I personally hate change, but that is exactly what we need. This new terminal, that will not be paid for by taxpayers, would supply a new job market, possibly adding new flights to KC and allow for an airport that offers all the modern conveniences of todays world. If you think the citizens of KC are not for a new terminal, I suggest you put it to a vote. Let the citizens speak. I think you doubt how logical people are and have lost faith in those who believe in KC right along with you. Since we have already spent so much money on this endeavor, I beg you to let the citizens speak out by putting this issue on the ballot. We, the proud people of KC may truly surprise you.

  3. Mr. Mayor,
    I don’t live in KC. I do travel up there rather frequently to enjoy the amenities and attractions the city has to offer. I do NOT, however, fly out of KCI. Not unless I have absolutely no other choice.

    KCI was once a very nice airport to fly from. The terminals were very accessible, they had all the trappings, and it was easy to move about and find your gate. It wasn’t the best airport in the country, but it was pretty darn good.

    Then 9/11 happened, and the updates required to enhance our safety underscored just how tired and out-dated KCI really was. Here is an example (and this may have changed since it occurred, it WAS 3 years ago): I had to take a VERY early-morning flight from KCI via US Airways. I believe it was a US Airways Express flight, out of Terminal A, Gate 1. I, of course, arrived early and proceeded through the TSA screening with no issue. It wasn’t until after I’d sat at the gate for about 20 minutes that I realized I had to use the restroom. Mr. Mayor, THERE WAS NO ACCESSIBLE RESTROOM AVAILABLE FROM THAT GATE. In fact, there were NO amenities whatsoever. Not even a pop machine. That’s just disgraceful.

    I am quite certain some things have changed. But I (reluctantly) had to fly from/to KCI last summer as well, and I can assure you they haven’t changed very much. I don’t fly out of KCI (unless I have no choice). I won’t, until improvements are made.

    I thank you for your attention.

  4. I’ve been strongly against a new terminal, but in recent months I’ve finally warmed up to the idea… keeping in mind that if they approved it today, it wouldn’t be built and ready to open for at least five more years. I’m for it now, and I hope it happens. It’s the best thing for the city.

  5. Dear, Mayor James —

    I can’t tell you how happy I am to hear that you’ve listened to residents of Kansas City who are passionate about the things that make our city such a great place to live. We get to keep our fantastic airport!

    KCI’s cloverleaf design is a marvel of effiency and safety. The outer edges of the cloverleaf provides the space planes need, while the inner converges onto a circle, allowing quick-enough transportation between terminals, if necessary. Where other airports are practically inhumane, KCI shows the world how to do beauty, simplicity and security by a thoughtful, decentralized design.

    You’ve made me very happy and proud to be from KCMO today. Thank you, bless you.

    – Chris Muller

  6. Honorable Mr. Mayor:

    I am not a resident; however, I am considering employment with a KC company. In that role I will be doing a lot of travel (~50% of the time) through KCI. I have travelled all around the world (domestically and internationally) and while it may look old and not have as many amenities, the ease with which I can access parking and departure gates in under 15 minutes makes the current layout invaluable! I would agree with some curb to gate renovations allowing better recreation spaces and perhaps a gate to gate transfer system. Other than that updating the infrastructure and increasing the height of close access parking would be the additions I suggest.

    Sincerely, Thank you for listening to my comments.

  7. It would be nice to be a hub. I’m sure some fees may be higher, but the extra traffic and capacity should lower ticket prices by competition.

    It would be nice to possibly have a dozen more direct flight options because we act as a hub rather than needing to go through a hub in another city.

    Those extra flights will also make us a destination as well.

    Though, who knows at least we force more TSA agents, and with a distributed security, a bomb outside the secure area affects less people vs hundreds more in a single line.

  8. I am a Kansas City resident I love the simplicity of KCI but It is time to either get a new airport or do a major renovation to the old one but i think the focus should be on making KCI an International hub to bring more business and jobs to KC and put the city on the map.

  9. Mayor, I have admired much of your work since you came to office. Openness and inclusion have been the hallmark of your administration as you promised in your campaign.

    I have never been more proud of the work you are doing than I am right now. I know how much you believe in the single terminal plan. That you have allowed the data to carry the day and accepted that it truly expresses the will of your city, and not just a fraction of that group, is a courageous and laudable decision.

    Very well done on practicing what you are preaching sir, very well done!

  10. Mr. Mayor,

    As a resident of Shawnee, KS, when I fly I use KCI.
    The recent problems that travelers are experiencing in various cities that have centralized security lanes is another reason why we should not change the layout at KCI.

    A centralized security clearance area, with reduced staffing, would, IMHO, create the same problems that other cities are currently experiencing.

    Please, leave the current system in place.

    Thank you

  11. Dear Mr. Mayor,

    Have you seen the recent video of an airport security line at Chicago Midway International Airport? Here is the “viral” video:

    Southwest Airlines is one of the airlines that has committed to helping fund the new single airport terminal at Kansas City International Airport. As a reminder, Midway is one of Southwest Airlines’ hubs. The queue on that day was up to 2 hours long. For this you can blame the TSA, you can blame poor terminal design, or you can point fingers at both. With a new single terminal at KCI, this problem could likely happen to passengers. The current design, albeit outdated, is very convenient and safe for travelers. The food options may not be the best; however, I don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for airport food anyhow. Because of the gate security, I can arrive at the airport much closer to the flight time than I would in many other cities, and board my flight without a long wait. That is why I am a proponent for renovations of the current airport terminals.

  12. Arrived MCI on May 15 and departed same May 20. The TSA lines in the miserably narrow hallways made movement in the terminal difficult if not dangerous. I had TSA pre-check so was able to navigate that line within 10 minutes but then entered the SW waiting area which was jam packed full, no seating available, people standing all over, couldn’t get anywhere near concession stand and was afraid to look for the bathroom for fear that I would get stuck somewhere and miss my flight. Departure gates so close together that it was difficult to tell which gate was giving instructions since you certainly couldn’t see who was speaking. You desperately need a new terminal. It is a sad welcome to a pretty city and an “I can’t wait to get out of here” feeling on departing MCI.

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