- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 27, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Airlines serving Kansas City International Airport want the facility to replace its three existing terminals with a single terminal airport that’s expected to cost about $964 million.

After two years of refining studies and gathering data, the airlines on Tuesday tried to convince local officials and residents that both the timing and the cost are right for the project, The Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/1QAudMv ) reported.

“We believe the new terminal concept maximizes the dollars spent for both customer convenience and operational effectiveness,” Steve Sisneros, director of airport affairs for Southwest Airlines, told the City Council, saying he was speaking on behalf of all of the airline users at the Kansas City International Airport, including United, Delta, Frontier and American airlines.

Sisneros said the airlines have agreed to back the debt on a new terminal but they won’t do the same with any other option for modernizing the airport. He said the airlines don’t support renovations to the existing 43-year-old horseshoe terminals.

Sisneros stressed that airport projects cannot be paid for with general taxpayer money and are funded by ticket fees, airline leases, parking, concession revenues and other airport funds.

“We worked so hard on a budget that is affordable,” he said. “Everyone is unified on a process from the airline side.”

Sisneros said the airlines don’t plan to leave Kansas City International Airport if the new terminal isn’t built, but they likely won’t expand or enhance service at the existing facility.

The City Council didn’t immediately act on the recommendation and seemed divided on how to proceed.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar said she’s “tired of hearing his side” argue for the new terminal plan. She reminded Sisneros that Kansas City voters will have “the last word” on the decision.

Other council members, including Mayor Sly James and Jermaine Reed, support the new plan.

“You can’t build a world class city with a 1972 airport,” Reed said. “We have to plan and build for future generations to come.”

The airlines hope a financing plan can go before voters in August, but in order for that to happen, the council has to vote on ballot language my mid-May.

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Information from: The Kansas City Star, https://www.kcstar.com


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