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How fees, other revenues pay for the new KCI terminal

Promise in 2017 was only those using the terminal would pay for it
kci terminal ticket counter.JPG
Posted at 6:38 AM, Mar 06, 2023

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been mostly rave reviews from passengers arriving at Kansas City International Airport’s new terminal.

The $1.5 billion facility opened Feb. 28. It replaced the horseshoe-style terminals built in 1972.

“My first impression is it’s big and it’s shiny,” Josh Guldner said.

The city’s aviation department will pay back the bonds - basically loans - using revenue from the airport. That means no taxpayer dollars pay for the terminal. Revenues come through ticket fees airlines collect, concessions fees, rent and other fees airlines pay.

When voters approved building the new terminal in 2017, supporters repeated a motto that only people using the airport would pay for it. That holds true today.

“When we booked the flights, I thought it was reasonable. I didn’t really think it was much more than what we paid before,” Ameer Ghaisarnia said.

Guldner said he’d be willing to pay more if he had to.

“That’s the cost of doing business, you gotta get out and see the world, so I expect it [the possibility of increased ticket fees],” he said.

KSHB 41 News spoke to executives from Southwest Airlines before the new terminal opened. They said they’re willing to pay more for the new terminal.

“It’s a $1.5 billion project so our cost will go up by operating here, but we think it’s worth the investment for both our customers and our employees,” said Steve Cisneros, Southwest Airlines’ vice president of airport affairs.

It’ll take about 35 years for the aviation department to pay off the bonds it used to build the terminal.