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'Proud to call it home': City leaders reflect on 1 year since takeoff of KCI's single terminal

KCI terminal one year presser
Posted at 1:08 PM, Feb 28, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It's been 365 days of flights taking off to locations across the nation — and world; 365 days of local businesses serving a taste of KC to hasty travelers; 365 days of the Kansas City International Airport's new single terminal.

Kansas City, Missouri, city leaders gathered at the single terminal on its first birthday Wednesday to reflect on the takeoff of the new terminal.

"One year ago today, we delivered on our commitment to open a new airport terminal," Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Quinton Lucas said. "The largest single infrastructure project in our city's history, ahead of time and on budget."

Lucas said the work that went into making the terminal a reality began almost a decade before he stepped into the role of Kansas City, Missouri's mayor.

"I commend everyone at aviation, my colleagues on city council through all of the years, Mayor James and so many others," Lucas said. "It is really tremendous in a way that we are at this moment today."

The terminal played a key role in Kansas City's pitches to land the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2023 NFL Draft, Lucas shared.

The new terminal not only helped KC stand out on the international stage, but it also supported small businesses. Eighty percent of brands represented at the airport are local to Kansas City and artists from right here at home helped bring KC's culture to the terminal.

"We were able to ensure that local artists were included in the art display," Lucas said. "With a majority of artists represented being artists of color or women, who are too often underrepresented in projects of this size."

RELATED | New KCI terminal houses largest public art project in KC history

Kansas City, Missouri, Mayor Pro Tem Ryana Parks-Shaw said that it took a team of over 6,500 people to design and build the new terminal and garage. Over $300 million was involved in the project and over 130 contracts were given to woman and minority-owned businesses through the process.

"This is the first Kansas City project that required higher goals for workforce diversity than any other project in Kansas City. The city doubled its goals for minority workers from 10% to 20%, and these goals were surpassed to 24%, how 'bout that?" Parks-Shaw said. "This terminal truly created opportunity for many, and that's what it's all about."

Parks-Shaw also outlined that the city's requirement for women in the workforce was 2%, while the airport's goals were 2.7%. These goals were more than doubled with a 7.7% female workforce on the project.

City Manager Brian Platt also added that KCI reported a 10% increase in passengers in this past year from the previous year.

Despite more passengers traveling to and from Kansas City, Platt emphasized that security wait times have been streamlined. During Thanksgiving, the busiest time for travel the terminal saw in the past year, wait times were below two minutes for TSA PreCheck and below four minutes for regular security.

RELATED | What to expect going through security at Kansas City International Airport's new single terminal

"That's a testament to the work that we've done here to make a beautiful facility and all the work that everyone does here everyday to make this place just a little bit better," Platt said.

KCMO Aviation Director Melissa Cooper acknowledged that the terminal has grown up over the past year, and those with the airport had to navigate issues that cropped up, like congestion at the arrivals curb.

"Our dedication and our commitment is to be better moving forward," Cooper said. "We want your feedback, we want to continue to grow, we want to be the best Kansas City can offer to the entire nation and to be an international force to be reckoned with."

As part of the Kansas City Aviation Department's mission to grow and have an international presence, the airport has made attempts to land transatlantic service to Europe — and more specifically, London.

Cooper told reporters Wednesday that conversations regarding nonstop flights to Europe are ongoing and hopeful, but nothing is cemented at this time. Cooper described the process as a "delicate balance of need, competition, relationships," and shared the aviation department is working with the state of Missouri to offer economic incentives to make transatlantic service a reality.

"Generations, this facility will be here and we're proud to call it home. Thank you KC, this is your terminal. Thank you, happy birthday," Cooper concluded.