- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 2, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - A plan to renovate the Kansas City International Airport, rather than demolish and replace it, is unrealistic and more expensive than originally suggested, a consultant for airlines that use the airport said.

Lou Salomon, chief operating officer of AvAirPros, told the Kansas City Council’s Airport Committee Tuesday a proposal offered by Kansas City-based Crawford Architects in January did not address the airport’s future needs for such things as gates, baggage, technology, security, parking, concessions and room for larger aircraft, The Kansas City Star reports (https://bit.ly/1SriXZV ).

City and aviation officials have been discussing for more than four years a plan to demolish the airport and replace it with a single terminal. Some citizens want to keep the current three-terminal design.

The Crawford proposal would keep the existing layout but expand Terminal A to include better security, three baggage areas, retail and concession areas, 18 or 19 more gates and more parking. Similar work would be done at Terminal B in the future.

When all those additional needs and costs are factored in, Salomon said the Crawford plan would cost $984 million, not Crawford’s estimate of $672 million.

Crawford officials did not attend Tuesday’s presentation.

The airlines believe a single terminal is the most efficient and economical solution to the airport’s future.

“It’s very important, we’re not trying to solve today’s problems,” said Salomon, adding that planners are trying to create the best airport for the next several decades.

He said the airport needs to grow from its current 29 gates to between 35 and 42 gates because planners estimate the number of departing passengers will increase from 4.9 million to 6.9 million by 2030.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar, who has been skeptical of the plan to demolish the airport, was not persuaded by Salomon’s presentation.

“I need a lot more convincing,” she said, “and I think the citizens of Kansas City feel the same way.”

A committee of aviation and airline officials and their consultants, including AvAirPros, hopes to make a recommendation to the City Council on the future of airport before May 1. The City Council would have to approve the recommendation and Kansas City voters would be asked to approve any bond financing to help pay for the project.

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


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