The under-used Terminal A at Kansas City International Airport is emerging a the consensus site for a new single-terminal airport.
Officials considering transforming the airport are reaching a consensus on the best place to locate an all-in-one terminal to replace the current three terminals.
On Thursday, Aviation Director Mark VanLoh updated city council members on months of studies and planning.
He said a potential site just south of the existing airport is too expensive to be a viable option, which is why Terminal A is seen as the best choice. The cost would be $1.2 billion with design and construction taking six years.
Many passengers praise the current design for its convenience.
"It's so easily accessible. That's what people like about it," Billie Reed said. "To me, it (the proposed plan) makes no sense at all."
But critics said the three-terminal layout creates security challenges and inconveniences for airlines wanting to offer connections at KCI. Those inconveniences include restaurants being outside security and fewer bathrooms past security.
The single-terminal airport would have 37 gates compared to the 90 now offered at the three terminals. Because of airline consolidations and other issues, Terminal B has the majority of flights at KCI, creating traffic and security congestion issues.
"If you're trapped here, your flight's delayed or canceled, you're one of the ones complaining to us," VanLoh said.
Visitors would get service to and from parking garages and lodging establishments at a parking garage rather than standing on concrete islands outside the terminal. A state-of-the-art luggage system would be installed.
"It's all done by the machine and then you're rid of your bag in the parking garage," VanLohn said.
Terminal B would be demolished and Terminal C turned into office space.
The final recommendation isn't expected until January. Even then, the Federal Aviation Administration and the city council would need to sign off on it. The hope is to pick an architect and other design consultants this summer and get federal approval next September.
The project is expected to create about 1,800 construction jobs. The terminal construction would be paid for by the airlines, the federal government and taxes and fees imposed on airline customers. No general tax dollars would be used.
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