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Mayor, city plan second look at new KCI scope

Posted: 5:50 PM, Nov 27, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-27 20:31:48-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Following an increasingly acrimonious debate, Kansas City Mayor Sly James said Tuesday the city and airlines have agreed to “take a second look” at the project scope of the new single terminal project at KCI.

In an e-mailed statement, James said the city had met with airlines to hammer out recent concerns about costs associated with the baggage system at the new terminal. The cost pitted smaller, discount airlines against the larger and more traditional airlines.

“Since the project cannot move forward with further design and construction until environmental approvals are granted, the airlines have requested, as part of their due diligence – and we have agreed – to take a second look at the project scope and ensure everyone is comfortable.”

James said the city would provide an update in January.

In the meantime, the airport committee will continue to meet to work on other aspects of the project, like the community benefits agreement. 

While the mayor and the aviation department maintain the baggage claim cost allocation is the major problem, a spokeswoman for Allegiant said that’s only part of the problem.

“Allegiant wants what the airport wants, a fair and equitable cost-sharing structure that allows us to meet the needs of our passengers. The equitable distribution of costs regarding the baggage system is just one example of that,” wrote Manager of Corporate Communications Sonya Padgett, quoting part of the letter the airline sent to the city.

Spirit Airlines sent a statement to 41 Action News on Tuesday saying the company felt the cost was "higher than reasonable."

It is Spirit Airlines’ position that the cost of the proposed project at Kansas City International Airport is higher than reasonable (higher than other comparable projects) and favors larger carriers.  As a direct result of the project as now conceived, Kansas City residents and visitors will pay significantly higher fares in the future and may lose valuable low-fare service.  We are urging the city to move toward a plan that allows all carriers to operate equitably and to one that does not stifle competition.

-Matt Klein, Spirit Airlines’ Senior Vice President & Chief Commercial Officer

Meanwhile, two of Edgemoor’s former competitors for the bid have released updated cost estimates for the project.

“Based on our updated cost estimate, construction schedule and plan of finance, we believe the new single terminal at KCI with the additional gates as requested by the airlines can be completed for a construction cost of less than $1.4 billion,” AECOM’s “KCI Partnership” wrote in a statement to 41 Action News.

AECOM estimates the annual debt service payment would be $85-89 million per year for 30 years. That equates to about $2.7 billion.

As we previously reported, Burns & McDonnell claims it can also complete the terminal for a total of $2.7 billion.