KC airport a dinosaur


July 8, 2013 - 12:00 AM

Kansas City should build a new airport.
The current airport is not only old, but also ex- tremely inefficient for trav- elers and airport personnel alike.
Yes, yes, the 2004 renova- tion freshened its look. The tile floors remain a stand- out.
But the design as a whole is not passenger friendly and is also cumbersome for today’s security needs.
The biggest complaints from passengers is the lack of amenities. A canceled or delayed flight that strands you at KCI is like waiting in purgatory. The circular de- sign of the airport’s three terminals make passen- gers feel isolated because they can’t see beyond their immediate arc. There’s no center eating or shop- ping area to help pass the time. And once checked in for a flight, passengers are cordoned off into waiting areas because of security measures.
Today’s airports should be designed so security gates are at their main en- trance. This serves two pur- poses: (1) Only those whose purpose is to board an air- plane have access to the greater interior of the air- port; and (2) it allows pas- sengers to be free to roam the airport and take advan- tage of its restaurants and shops.
Kansas City’s airport
loses out on potential rev- enue by its lack of ameni- ties. According to a report in Sunday’s Kansas City Star, the airport nets about $3 million a year from con- cessions — among the low- est of any airport in the country.
NOW 40, the airport is showing its age. The walls of its concrete foundation are bowing and leaking re- quiring costly repairs.
Its parking garages need to be either replaced or expanded because of in- creased patronage.
And its baggage and se- curity systems need to be updated.
Ever since the terrorist bombings of 9/11, secu- rity at airports has had to change dramatically. Long gone are the days passen- gers can simply walk up to a gate and board a plane. Now, extensive screenings are required for each gate.
With three terminals each having multiple gates, the security required at KCI is overkill. One central terminal with one or two entrances would save on se- curity measures and more importantly, manpower.
An airport is a business like any other, although it has a distinct advantage of having a captive audience. Kansas City is ignoring its potential by not making the airport all it can be.
— Susan Lynn

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