- Associated Press - Sunday, February 12, 2017

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Kansas officials are considering building an airport in Johnson County to compete with Kansas City International.

Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback told the Kansas City Star (https://bit.ly/2kzMJxm ) the state is exploring the possibility of building a major airport on the Kansas side of the metropolitan area. Several challenges remain for the idea of a Kansas airport because getting plans approved for a new airport often takes years. Building a new airport is also extremely expensive.

Previous talks about renovating Kansas City International and combining all of its gates into a single terminal have stalled.

“Airlines are requesting construction of a new single terminal airport at (KCI), and the state of Kansas is continually looking for new economic development opportunities,” Brownback said in an email. “With more than 50 percent of (KCI) passengers coming from Kansas, we are exploring the possibilities of this project.”

Airlines like the idea of a single terminal because it would be more efficient, but many passengers like the current multiple-terminal design because it is easy to get into and out of.

Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said that a modern terminal could lower enplanement costs and improve the airport’s efficiency.

“An airport of this nature has the ability to generate enormous economic impact for the state and we owe it to Kansans to explore the feasibility of this project,” Colyer said.

Federal Aviation Administration spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said no formal proposals for a new airport have been submitted.

It’s not clear what this idea would mean for cross-border cooperation on economic development projects, but Johnson County Commissioner Steve Klike said it’s important not to ignore needed airport improvements.

“If Kansas City can’t get its act together, it’s an open ball game,” said Klika, who is also chairman of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority.


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

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