Gladstone, MO - The opening of the new $1.5 billion Kansas City International Airport was meant to provide the Bi-State Area with a state-of-the-art facility that would make air travel easier and more comfortable for passengers. However, many Northland travelers have criticized the new airport's design for failing to address the ease of picking up passengers, which was a key feature of the old airport.
For taxpayers who helped pay for the parking lots in the three old KCI terminals, the city's decision to demolish and rebuild the airport seemed like a missed opportunity. According to some locals, a better alternative would have been to design a new airport around the existing terminal structures while keeping security and amenities in mind.
The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general fund tax revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system.
Jim Dowell, a frequent traveler to KC via plane and train, said, "The new terminal is fantastic for passengers!" But he also expressed disappointment with the airport's poor pickup situation, which is causing traffic congestion and confusion. The old terminals had a long curb side for people waiting to pick up their passengers, but the new design lacks this feature. Dowell suggested giving one hour of free parking at the lot right across from departure to ease traffic and reduce congestion.
Dowell also suggested that the airport should have a tow truck on station to tow cars with out passengers, and traffic police should patrol the area to give tickets if drivers are just standing with no one actively loading or unloading. Ultimately, drivers will learn.
Improving the cell phone lots and increasing the frequency of buses to provide more interconnect in the northland are additional suggestions for improvement.
The new airport has come under fire from some locals who believe it was unnecessary to demolish the old airport and spend $1.5 billion on a new design. "They could have spent $500 million and improved the terminals," said one resident. "New isn't always progress. We had an airport that was retro and should have been protected as a historical airport."
Despite these criticisms, many passengers have praised the new airport for its ease of use and spaciousness. "Maybe people just need to study the map of the new airport before taking their first flight there, so they know where to go and what to expect," said one passenger.
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