Government & Politics

After months of wrangling, airlines reach agreement over KCI single terminal costs

Animated renderings show proposed approach to new KCI terminal

Animated renderings show the proposed approach to the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.
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Animated renderings show the proposed approach to the new terminal at Kansas City International Airport.

The airlines that serve Kansas City International Airport have come to agreement on the price of a new single terminal at KCI, putting an end to a months of delay, Councilwoman Jolie Justus announced on Twitter Wednesday afternoon.

Justus, a candidate for mayor and chair of the Airport Committee, said in an interview that a representative from Southwest Airlines, KCI’s largest carrier, would be at a committee meeting Thursday morning to talk about the agreement.

Council members have been waiting since November for an accord among airlines on how to share the cost of the project, which would replace the three aging horseshoe-style terminals at KCI with a new single terminal.

“This is one more hurdle,” Justus said. “We still have a council conversation to have and it’s just good that the airlines have finished their deliberations.”

Southwest Airlines confirmed its in agreement in an email.

Two small carriers, Allegiant and Spirit airlines, announced in November they couldn’t support the $1.64 billion price tag, which reflected design changes that expanded the number of gates. City officials said the carriers also reached an impasse over how to share the price of a baggage handling system that costs $20 million per year.

That triggered the airlines’ request for a second cost study to make sure the $1.64 billion price was accurate.

Justus said she believed the $1.64 billion budget would be scrapped in favor of a new price, but that the airlines would have to report that Thursday morning.

In a statement, Geoffrey Stricker, managing director for developer Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate, said the company had been working closely with the airlines and the Kansas City Aviation Department.

“We are in strong alignment, and look forward to beginning an exciting new chapter on this project,” Stricker said.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar, 2nd District at-large, said she was told that that new price was $1.5 billion. She said she wanted to know what kind of changes to the design would have to be made to bring the price down by $140 million.

“The one thing we don’t want to do is not have a good quality airport,” Loar said.

The Star’s Steve Vockrodt contributed to this report.

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Allison Kite reports on City Hall and local politics for The Star. She joined the paper in February 2018 and covered Midterm election races on both sides of the state line. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism with minors in economics and public policy from the University of Kansas.