Los Angeles engineering firm wants to be considered to build single terminal at KCI

Posted at 6:49 PM, May 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-26 18:35:52-04

Kansas City Council received a letter from Los Angeles-based engineering firm AECOM on Thursday asking to be included in talks over a possible new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

The letter came two weeks after engineering firm Burns & McDonnell submitted a $1 billion privately financed plan for a new terminal.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar spoke to 41 Action News on Thursday shortly after receiving the letter.

She said a request to be included in the terminal talks would likely lead to more outside companies coming forward.

"I'm surprised it didn't come sooner. We're going to get solicitations now," Loar explained. "We'll probably see firms out of New York, out of California, out of Texas. There are a lot of firms out there that build airports."

The future of KCI Airport still remains very much up in the air.

Many have grown to love the convenience of the current airport.

However, many others have complained for years at the lack of restaurants and shops inside the aging terminals, among other issues.

Loar said the chance to build a new terminal, expected to cost hundreds of millions of dollars, likely intrigued many firms.

"Kansas City is hot, hot, hot right now," she explained. "They see an opportunity."

Despite years of debate over whether or not to build a new terminal, Loar said the pace of the recent developments this spring has led to some concern.

"There's still a lot of confusion and still a lot of angst," she said. "We need to get our arms around this and we don't yet." 

In the letter obtained by 41 Action News, AECOM's Sr. Vice President Mike Handelman said the company "presents an interested, serious competitive option."


On Thursday, fliers who would like to see a new terminal found the developments encouraging.

"It seems like the more I come out here, the more run down this place has become," explained Shawn Smith, who was dropping his wife off before her flight.

He said a new terminal couldn't come soon enough.

"At this point, I'm not too concerned about who does it," he said. "I'm probably more concerned about it being done."

A day later all the key parties are still mulling over that letter.

At KCI Airport travelers simply want something new.

“I’ve flown in and out of Kansas City for 20 years, and in the old days once you got into the gate you could hardly get a bottle of water so it’s gotten better but it’s just outdated,” Mike Smith, from Blue Springs, said.

Smith believes competition is better with projects the size of KCI.

“They’d [AECOM] have to bring an offer that is attractive as Burns’ and it would need to be line item for line item,” Smith said.

AECOM is one of the top airport design firms in the country.

The company has worked on major airports in cities like Chicago, New York, and Atlanta.

AECOM has not released exact details of its plan but council members said they would reach out to the firm over the next few days to learn more information.

The City Council announced two more public hearings on the new proposal to privately finance a single terminal at KCI.

Monday, June 5
5:30 p.m.
Bruce R. Watkins Center
3700 Blue Pkwy

Thursday, June 8
9:15 a.m.
City Hall
26th Floor City Council Chambers
414 East 12th St.