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Sunday, May 12, 2013

Kudos to the Star today, on the airport

Kudos and salutations to the Kansas City Star today, for printing an article that goes against their own, earlier editorial on our airport:

Kansas City Airport Address

Airport terminal projects don't guarantee growth

It's as some of us in town, me for one, Save KCI! another, have said, building a new airport in no way guarantees more airlines and flights. No way.
From the article:
Building a new airport terminal doesn’t guarantee that kind of success, says Steven Malanga, senior fellow with the Manhattan Institute, a market-oriented public policy think tank. Malanga has written about airport expansions that didn’t live up to their promise, such as in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

“People are right to be suspicious because there is a tendency within the aviation bureaucracy to want to update by building, rather than reconstructing,” Malanga said. “One thing you can be sure of in the current economic environment, if you’ve seen your own air traffic shrink, it’s unlikely a new terminal will drive economic growth.”

Mike Boyd, a Denver-based aviation specialist who is not involved with KCI’s plans but is familiar with the airport, agreed that a new terminal doesn’t assure new business.

“No, it won’t bring in new airlines,” he said. “They’ve all merged or gone out of business.”

It's as though the Airport Authority--and anyone who wants to push a new airport on us--wants to totally disavow or ignore that we've gone through the worst economic downturn in 80 years. When that happens and virtually all, if not specifically all, businesses are hurt and experience cuts in business and so, naturally, revenue, wouldn't it follow that airlines business would also decrease? And when that is the case, as it most surely is, how does building a new airport help that? How would that help business
And when you add that downturn to the fact that, as said, above, the airlines have merged, how, exactly, would building a new airport add new service to the area?  How does that work unless, along with that new building, you somehow, magically, I don't know, create a mountain range for people to come to, also?  Or an ocean? Or something, to draw people here?

If we're talking new buildings to increase flights, the new Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, downtown, is far more likely to bring in more flights than a new airport. And we already did that.

Since when do people fly into cities because of or for their airports, regardless the city? How and when does that make any sense?

Sure, a handful of architects might fly in---might---but that's not going to create the kind of sustained increase needed or desired.

The author of the article hints at what should happen when they write about what Mr. Boyd, above says need to happen:

But he is emphatic that KCI must change or continue to lose ground to its competitors.

I say again, one more time, and I'll keep saying it, we can update and innovate the current, existing buildings, I believe, and achieve all we want and need.

If we update the existing airport, we can get the single building we need for security by using most or all of Terminal B for that. Then, by creating walkways out to Terminals A and C, we can gain what's needed in gates. Along with that, we could and should install updates in HVAC and other energy updates and the drainage from the jets wash, we can gain the both environmental improvements as well as energy savings.

There would be no reason to not make improvements in appearance on the buildings, also.  With all this, we'd also gain huge cost savings over the 1,200,000,000 dollars that would otherwise be necessary for a totally new, single terminal.

Let's not throw away one diamond--the existing airport--just so we can buy yet another.

We need to stop this "Let's throw away this building and build another" mentality in the area, at least, if not the nation. This would be a great place to start.

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