Kansas City International Airport is a public airport in Kansas City, Missouri, located 15 miles northwest of Downtown Kansas City in Platte County, Missouri. The airport opened in 1972 and replaced Kansas City Municipal Airport (thanks, Wikipedia!).
Not long ago, Upgraded Points did an excellent overview of KCI/MCI (the official IATA code for the airport is MCI, but it’s loosely known as KCI. IATA wouldn’t give them the KCI code, as it was already used by Kon Airport in Southeast Asia’s East Timor. We’ll refer to it as KCI/MCI to avoid confusion).
The airport had 3 terminals, named A, B and C. However by early 2014, Terminal A was closed, since most of the airlines using it had been part of mergers (the only airline left at the time, US Airways, got moved to Terminal C).
City officials had been trying to move forward with a new airport for years. Terminals B and C were outdated and didn’t work well in a post-9/11 world. In April 2016, the airlines that operate out of KCI/MCI, led by Southwest, made it clear to the city council that they favored a new, single terminal over a renovation of the current “horseshoe” design.
That was followed by years of deal-making, a complicated procurement process and a vote by citizens, who overwhelming (75% to 25%) agreed they wanted a new terminal.
KCI broke ground in March 2019 on the single, 1-million-square-foot terminal that will replace the current B and C horseshoe-shaped terminals. The new single terminal is the largest single infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history.
The new terminal will open with 39 gates but has the potential to expand to 50. It will feature a modern environment with dedicated arrival and departure levels, covered parking in an adjacent 6,100-space garage, moving walkways and consolidated security checkpoints. All of these have been designed for easy navigation for travelers.
The new MCI will have a very interesting feature of glass passenger boarding bridges at all 39 gates. These will provide views of the surrounding airfield as you board your flight. As an added bonus, it will make the Kansas City International Airport the largest all-glass facility in the United States.
The terminal will be the first in the country that will offer wireless electric bus charging. This builds on Kansas City’s existing environmental efforts and leadership, since MCI was the first U.S. airport to have electric buses.
The new MCI will feature services and spaces designed to welcome all passengers, such as a service animal relief area, military USO and nursing mothers rooms. It will also feature the Variety KC Inclusive Family Play Zone offers a simulated aircraft, accessible play spaces and other experiences for children that will contribute to making the airport one of the most inclusive and accessible airport terminals in the country.
80% of the new terminal’s restaurants and shops will be local to the Kansas City region. Among those, 17 will be woman-owned and minority-owned businesses.
Public art will also have a significant presence in the new terminal. A total of $5.6 million is being invested in works from 28 individual artists, 19 of which live in the KC area or have local ties.
KCI/MCI will open to the public on February 28th. However about 1,000 locals were recently invited to volunteer for a test run of the airport’s operational capacities (i.e. picking up and dropping off passengers, checking in for flights, going through security screenings, etc.) of the new space. Here’s the report from one of them:
Orlando had the opportunity to watch its new Terminal C come to be. It was definitely an exciting process, surmounted only by the excitement of when it finally opened. I’m sure the citizens of Kansas City MO and its surrounded areas can hardly wait for their new terminal to open next week.
Feature image: KCI/MCI
*** Many thanks to Maria A. for her assistabnce with this post!
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