Airport Committee meets to discuss immediate improvements to KCI

Does KCI need more amenities?
Posted at 8:06 AM, Jul 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-21 19:27:06-04

Although the future of KCI is still up in the air, City Council's Airport Committee is talking about adding immediate improvements. 

KCMO Aviation Director Patrick Klein told the airport committee at the 10 a.m. meeting that upgrades are coming. This is primarily because as the number of passengers at KCI grows steadily each month but the terminals' amenities are stuck in time.

"These are small things that I think can add up to a lot for people," Dan Fowler, council member of the 2nd District, said.

It starts with 700 new seats equipped with outlets in public areas at terminals B and C.

The department is looking to the additional signs inside the terminals for rental car shuttles.

The installation date and cost for both are still in the works.

According to the data, Wi-Fi usage at the airport continues to increase. The number of users have risen to 40 percent year-to-date from July 2015.

In October, Internet speeds will boost up to 1 gigabyte.

"I hope they don't change everything because I like the way that it is now," Valigura Cricket from Grain Valley said.

One major change is coming to the American Airlines area at Terminal C. Talks are happening to combine three different checkpoints into one.

"It will give us enough room to put in four lanes of checkpoint which will allow one TSA Pre-Check lane that they don't currently have," Klein said.

He told the committee they're also exploring the idea of adding a boarding bridge for international arrivals.

Some people like Mission, Kansas, resident Vicki Decker describe the terminals' lighting as walking through a dungeon. That's why the city will install bright LED lights at its 830 fixtures at a cost of $33,000 after rebates. The change will save $120,000 a year in energy costs.

Many fliers agree the changes are needed.

"Definitely comfortable chairs. I like to set up shop and get my laptop out. There's not always enough places to work desktop-wise," frequent flier Sarah Kittle said. "Southwest I usually have luck, but when I fly other airlines, there's not even a place to set up."

Kittle also added that she doesn't want to see too many changes that would take away from KCI's convenience.

"I love how the gates are separate. It's easy to get in and out of security. Definitely no changes there, but maybe a little more comfort," Kittle said.

She echoed the sentiment of many citizens, one that greatly contributed to Mayor Sly James's decision to pull the plug on an August vote to either renovate or rebuild KCI into a single-terminal facility.

Many city leaders and airlines are on board with rebuilding, saying the 43-year-old airport isn't functional anymore.

"The reality is we need a modernized airport, and until we come to a decision as a city on what path to take and how we're going to do that, we still need to meet the needs of our customers and of our airlines," Jolie Justus, council member of the 4th District and chairwoman of the Airport Committee, said.



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