KANSAS CITY, Mo — Memorial Day weekend is the unofficial start of summer and Kansas City International Airport is getting ready for a travel surge.
At least 20,000 passengers are estimated to fly out of KCI starting on Thursday. According to KCI, this makes it the busiest Memorial Day weekend the airport has seen since 2019. In response, KCI is bringing on additional staff and working with airline partners and members of the Transportation Security Administration to mitigate traffic.
"We think we're in a pretty good spot, we're certainly working to make sure that our staffing levels and things we can control are are under control," said Justin Meyer, KCI Communications.
Meyer explained several factors are contributing to the surge. The new KCI single terminal opened in February and has 40 operations gates compared to the 34 gates the airport had inside its previous terminals. Meyer said flights continue to be addedand the majority of those flights are 90-95% full.
"With out a doubt the airport is going to see passenger levels that we haven't seen since 2019 with this holiday period," Meyer explained. "What we've seen is airlines returning seat capacity into the Kansas City market and that's driving up passengers."
Passengers are encouraged to check with FlyKC before their flights, check for parking availability and arrive at KCI at least two hours before their departure time. KCI said additional staff will also be on hand to reduce traffic congestion along the airport's arrival and departure curbs. Drivers are encouraged to use the cell phone lot prior to picking up travelers.
"Our airline partners have scheduled 2,300 to arrive in those 30 minutes between 11:30 p.m. and 12:00 a.m., if you do the math that's potentially 77 passengers per minute that are walking out of the building onto the arrivals curve," Meyer said. "If your traveler is not ready to be picked up, don't be on the arrival's curve."
Meyer predicts the surge will continue into the busy summer season. Over 19,800 passengers were screened on Tuesday making it the busiest Tuesday the airport has seen since 2019.