Kansas City International’s New $1.5B Terminal Opens

Kansas City International Airport new terminal
Credit: Clark Weitz Clarkson

Kansas City International Airport (MCI) has opened its new passenger terminal, shutting down the two terminals that had been handling all of the airport’s flights.

The $1.5 billion, 1-million ft.² terminal is “the first major update since the airport’s opening in 1972,” MCI says in a statement. The terminal was 100% debt financed, the airport adds. Kansas City residents voted by a 3-to-1 margin to build the new terminal in a 2017 ballot referendum.

Southwest Airlines, MCI’s market share leader at nearly 50%, operated the first flight handled via the new terminal. “We’re thrilled to usher in a new era of air travel for the Kansas City community as the new terminal brings remarkable upgrades and enhancements for travelers and employees who work at the airport,” Southwest VP-airport affairs Steve Sisneros says. “As the airline with the most flights from Kansas City, we’re looking forward to connecting travelers to the people and places important in their lives through the world-class facilities.”

The Missouri airport’s Terminals B and C handled their last flights Feb. 27. Ground was broken on the terminal project in March 2019 on the site of MCI’s former Terminal A, which was no longer being used. The new single terminal replaces a three-terminal horse-shoe configuration. It has 40 gates with room for 10 more gates to be added in the future.

The airport believes the terminal will reduce energy needs by 20% versus the closed terminals. “Solar panels cover the south side of the parking garage, reducing the airport’s dependency on fossil fuels,” the airport said. “The terminal’s all-electric buses are the first in the country to charge as they stop to load and unload passengers, utilizing induction charging pads.”

The terminal features 40 restaurants, an outdoor courtyard and stages for musical performances, among other amenities. “Consolidated and flexible security checkpoints with 16 lanes were designed to accommodate the ebb and flow of passenger volume,” Kansas City International says. There is a 6,200-space garage adjacent to the terminal.

“This is a defining moment for the Kansas City region, showcasing on a global stage that we are a leading location for the attraction of businesses and talent,” Tim Cowden, president and CEO at the Kansas City Area Development Council, says.

Aaron Karp

Aaron Karp is a Contributing Editor to the Aviation Week Network.