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Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Aiport people go to the Star

Kansas City Airport Address

According to Yael T. Abouhalkah at the Kansas City Star, Mayor James and other proponents of a new, single building airport went to the Star's editorial board this last week and came up with 3 main reasons we should buy off on their very expensive boondoggle. They were/are:
  • The new terminal would improve the image of Kansas City.
  • It would help attract more businesses to the region.
  • It would provide a better experience for airline passengers
Let's address each. (As in, apply logic and tear these things apart).

First, a new terminal would "improve the image of Kansas City."


And why would that be?

Because we built one? Because we built another one? Seriously?

Heads up, guys, we have one. We have an international airport. And you know what? We like it. It works.  It's handsome. It's attractive. It's convenient. You can get in and get to your plane quickly, easily and conveniently. Why would we want to throw it away, walk away from it and only to--expensively--buy another new one?

Second argument:  A new, single building facility would "help attract more businesses to the region."

Again, seriously?  They're claiming that?

How is it more businesses would come to the region?

Again, WE HAVE AN AIRPORT. How is paying for and building a new one going to bring more businesses to the region? What company or companies is going to say or think "Gosh, Kansas City has a new, expensive airport. That's going to be good for us so we should take our business and company there"?

Here's the thinking, folks:  "Kansas City has had an international airport for, what? Decades. A new airport, single-building or no, changes nothing. It doesn't change our business or markets in any way. We don't need to move there, suddenly."

Third and final point of theirs: "It would provide a better experience for airline passengers."

Again, how is that?

Maybe, maybe, just because it's a "shiny new building"? That's about the most you can say for this idea.

But again, here's a thought, the thought that makes far more sense--instead of walking away from the existing facility that a) works very well, thanks very much and that b) the people like very much, again, thanks, WHY NOT UPDATE THE EXISTING FACILITY IN ALL ASPECTS? That could include lighting (LED to cut costs), heating, cooling, even energy-generating with solar photovoltaic energy cells, all of it, and make the most of all that updating and innovation. It would still be FAR less expensive than building new, some miles away, and starting all over again.

Then, you're just as likely, if not far more so, to provide that better experience for airline passengers. It only makes sense.

You'd have this cool, retro-fitted facility YOU DIDN'T WALK AWAY FROM AND THROW AWAY, it would have all the latest, modern amenities, including, possibly and even likely, new restaurants and shopping options.

It would be a total win for all--the airline passengers, the airlines themselves, the city and region, all of us.

We have to stop throwing away whole buildings. In this case, it would not just be a few buildings we threw away, either. It would be many.

A Star article this past week stated that the Airport Authority is going to close Terminal A later this year. This fits in with just what I've proposed. Instead of closing terminal A, close terminal B. Then revamp it and make it the facility for security and check-in. Then, add ramps out to Terminals A and C for going to the gates and our waiting planes.  All problems solved. It totally works, all the way around.  We save the existing airport, we save money, we get the improvements and updates and changes we need, everything.

This is very much like our Interstate 70 issue.

It needs updating and modernizing and widening, all of it.

At one point, the Missouri Department of Transportation floated the idea of abandoning it and building a new I-70, in effect, a few miles north of the existing. 

It was roundly criticized and shown to be the absurd, wasteful idea it was.

Same here.

We cannot walk away from and throw away our existing airport, just so we can be seduced by the "sexy and new."

That works for shirts and pants but not airports and buildings.

It's stupid. It's irresponsible. It's wasteful.  No, strike that, it's horribly wasteful.

And it's obscenely expensive and in a lot of ways, money and sheer cost being the biggest one.

Original article:  New KCI terminal’s biggest challenge: Will it be convenient?

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