The New Kansas City International Airport: Why Renovate?
Approved Plan Overwhelmingly Passed by KC Voters
After years of debate, 65K voters in Kansas City, Mo., on Tuesday, November 7, showed up to overwhelmingly pass the approved plan to spend $1B to replace the current, three terminal system of the Kansas City International Airport (MCI). The vote overwhelmingly passed with 75.3%.
Supporters of the vote, including a majority of city officials, airlines and the airport itself promised voters the new, single-terminal style airport would be paid for by the airlines and user fees, not hard-earned Kansas-Citian tax dollars.
Supporters also argued that a more modern airport would help the economy, and likely lead to more direct flights, international and potential connecting flights out of KC. The airport already has a $3.2B economic impact and supports 61K jobs, and it will only take flight from there.
So, why are airlines willing to spend money? Frankly, they make money at MCI. It’s affordable.
The average dollar amount to put each person in a seat throughout the country is roughly $6.50, Kansas City coming in way below that. Airlines costs would only increase approximately $2.50 to cover the balance of renovation.
When we compare ourselves to our local flight competition, competitors like St. Louis are somewhere around $14 - $15 per person. But apparently, the cost of doing business isn’t the driver; that cost doesn’t influence what it takes for people to fly.
St. Louis has approximately 25 additional flights from Southwest alone per day than Kansas City, even though the cost to airlines is significantly cheaper to fly out of Kansas City. Why? Because we don’t push connecting flights through Kansas City.
Read other posts by Devin Carver.