Airlines reject new KCI renovation proposal - KCTV5

Airlines reject new KCI renovation proposal

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Kansas City International Airport officials have said a new terminal is less costly long term, citing changes in FAA rules that could come down and a growing number of flyers in Kansas City. Kansas City International Airport officials have said a new terminal is less costly long term, citing changes in FAA rules that could come down and a growing number of flyers in Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The city's airport committee heard from a group of local architects who say renovations at KCI are the way to go.

But a representative for all the airlines that use KCI said that plan will not fly.

Kansas City-based Crawford Architects laid out a plan of their own Tuesday. The proposal details a renovation plan that would be cheaper than a new terminal.

According to Crawford Architects, renovating Terminals A and B would cost about $330 million each, still much cheaper than the nearly $1 billion figure to build a new single terminal.

Kansas City International Airport officials have said a new terminal is less costly long term, citing changes in FAA rules that could come down and a growing number of flyers in Kansas City.

However, the airport committee isn't convinced a new terminal is the best option.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar has doubts about the first plan.

"Do you think the aviation department really just wants a new terminal? Yes. That's exactly what I believe," Loar said.

Loar is backing the new plan by Crawford Architects.

"I didn't see anything that I liked, so I thought, I'm just going to go out there and see if I can get what I like, so I asked Crawford Architects," Loar said. “I'm not convinced it would cost more to renovate than build a new terminal at this point in time.”

Stacey Jones with Crawford Architects believes work can be done on Terminal A while everything at the airport moves to Terminal B.

"We pay as we go, so we don't have to bond out a billion dollars all at once. We can break it down," Loar said.

However, Lou Salomon, who is with a consulting firm for the airlines, said the renovation proposal fails to meet the needs for better customer service and fails to plan for growth in the future.

“The airline conclusion is the Crawford concept doesn't work as well as some of the other plans they've studied,” he said.

He said the renovation plan proposed by Crawford Architects is closer to $984 million, not the estimated $672 million total.

Salomon said the airlines that use KCI are in favor of building a new terminal, something they say is cheaper than renovating the current space.

“The airlines have gone through a two year process with the city, evaluating major renovations and new terminals and based on that process, the conclusion is major renovation is much more difficult than people originally anticipated,” he said.

Council members remain skeptical that such massive change is necessary.

“One of the questions that our fellow council members had is what would it cost just to fix just the problems at KCI right now, doing absolutely no improvements or modifications, just fix the problems,” said airport committee chair Jolie Justus.

Salomon stands by the new terminal idea and said the airlines are willing to put up the money necessary to make it happen.

“The airlines are looking at this as their money, they are the ones making the investment,” he said.

A recommendation to the city council on the future of KCI is expected by May 1.

Click here to read the KCI terminal development program process update.

Copyright 2016 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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