KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas City's pitch to land a nonstop flight to Europe goes beyond the new single-terminal Kansas City International Airport, which opens next year, and the forthcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The KSHB 41 I-Team has learned that it also includes the potential for travelers from neighboring states.
Last week, the I-Team obtained emails revealing an ongoing conversation about efforts to attract a nonstop flight to London.
Missouri state lawmakers approved $5 million incentives to land a transatlantic flight, touting the potential economic impact.
Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska and Iowa are included in what KCI officials call the "catchment area."
The idea is that a nonstop flight to Europe would draw Midwest travelers from those states.
KCI leaders are trying to sell British Airways' parent company, International Airlines Group, on the untapped potential of the Midwest.
"It's time," Justin Meyer, a deputy director for the KCMO Aviation Department and spokesman for KCI, said. "We're one of the top unserved destinations from Europe. We think the time is right for Kansas City to have a line drawn on the map."
KCI leaders said there are 877 daily transatlantic passengers from KCI and other regional airports in a presentation to International Airlines Group.
The regional airports include Columbia and Springfield in Missouri; Des Moines, Iowa; Wichita and Manhattan in Kansas; and Lincoln and Omaha in Nebraska.
"The beyond flow of passengers is what it'll take to make a transatlantic route from Kansas City successful," Meyer said.
KCI leaders also pointed to the airport pulling nearly five million passengers within a 2 1/2-hour drive with no competitive airport within a three-hour drive.
“If there’s a nonstop option from Kansas City, it might make those drive decisions a lot easier and favorable for us," Meyer said.
If all goes as planned, Meyer said a nonstop flight to Europe could happen as soon as summer of 2024.