Today, February 28, 2023, the 40-gate New Terminal at Kansas City International Airport opened for commercial air service a little more than 50 years after the airport and its three-terminals began serving Kansas City. At just over one million square feet and a budget of $1.5 billion, the New Terminal is the largest single infrastructure project in the city’s history. Design and construction efforts for the New Terminal began in 2018 and the project broke ground in March 2019.
The opening was commemorated in advance by a ribbon-cutting on February 27 led by Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and featuring U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, Missouri Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Kansas Lieutenant Governor David Toland, Kansas City Director of Aviation Pat Klein, and Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate Senior Managing Director Geoff Stricker.
The Kansas City Fire Department Aircraft and Fire Fighting unit greeted the first arriving flight on February 28 with a “water salute”.
“In so many ways, this airport is a model for similar efforts across the country. Not only did you deliver the largest infrastructure project this city has ever seen—you did it on time and on budget, while supporting over 5,000 construction jobs and working with over a hundred women and minority-owned businesses,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg. “I’m grateful for the tireless work all the leaders here have put into making this project possible for Kansas City. And I look forward to continuing our work to transform airports around the country for the better.”
“This terminal is a new front door to the people of Kansas City, to everyone in our region, in Missouri and Kansas. We are on time, in fact a day early, and on budget,” said Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas. “Because of this project thousands of Missourians and Kansans have gotten jobs and built new careers. Because of this project we will bring millions, if not billions, of dollars in new economic development to Missouri and Kansas. Because of this project we will build generations more of exceptional memories here at KCI. This project is because of you.”
“I want to thank every stakeholder that had a piece of this project in the last ten years. I want to thank the community because this asset is yours and our staff appreciates you,” said Pat Klein, Director of Aviation.
"What a historic day for Kansas City. As the developer of the new terminal project, I’ve had the privilege of working alongside the outstanding men and women of this project team for more than five years. I am proud to stand up here and say together we did it,” said Geoffrey Stricker, senior managing director at Edgemoor. “This new terminal is a testament to the hard work, the exceptional craftsmanship of more than 300 companies, and 6,500 members of the workforce comprised a project team. It’s the start of an exciting new journey for this region. Forged through teamwork, determination, and a shared commitment to delivering exceptional results. This new terminal is proof that great projects are built on great partnerships. Together we accomplished what many thought was impossible.”
The New Terminal supports more efficient airline operations and allows airport users to enjoy the convenience of modern air travel in a facility with updated technology and amenities.
The terminal features spacious gate areas, nearly 50 local and national food and beverage, and shopping experiences. The facility opens with 40 gates and the ability to expand up to 50 gates in the future. Two moving walkways expedite transfers between the two concourses to make navigating the airport a better experience. Consolidated and flexible security checkpoints with 16 lanes were designed to accommodate the ebb and flow of passenger volume. The new 6,200-space garage is adjacent to the terminal with plenty of close-in, covered parking.
Planners strove to make the New Terminal the most accessible airport terminal in the US with gradual slopes, a Variety KC inclusive play area for children of all abilities, sensory and quiet rooms for those who have sensory disorders, infant feeding rooms, and service animal relief areas. The Kansas City Air Travel Experience is a partial airliner adapted for individuals with anxiety or other conditions that may make them fearful of flying.
All amenities are accessible to passengers of all airlines. Just a few of the amenities include:
- Two-level curbside drop-off and pickup-design separating vehicular traffic
- Spacious Check-In Hall with airline check-in
- Centralized security check area with 16 lanes including PreCheck and CLEAR kiosks
- Two-sided concourses making airline connections much easier than in the old terminals
- All-glass boarding bridges
- Enhanced food and beverage options with a distinct and genuine sense of place, and global brand
- Permanent and “rotating” barbecue restaurants
- Centralized staffed customer service helpdesks
- Entertainment performance areas
- The largest One Percent for Art project in KC history by local and international artists
- History installation
- Military USO
- Large international arrivals area
- Premium lounges
- Gracious crowd circulation
- Airfield views
- Device charging stations, including wireless charging for phones
- Gender-specific, all-gender, and family restrooms featuring stall availability lights
- Garage features stall availability lighting, electric vehicle charging, speed ramps, and more
- Lower-level arrivals area with private vehicle lanes, and separate commercial vehicle lanes
- Wireless inductive charging for all-electric Economy Parking lot buses
The last flights in the old terminals were on February 27, at 10:25 PM, a Southwest Airlines departure to Chicago and a February 28, 12:38 AM Delta Air Lines arrival from Salt Lake City. The first departure and arrival in the New Terminal February 28 were both by Southwest Airlines, with a 5:00 AM departure to Chicago-Midway and a 7:40 AM arrival from Chicago-Midway.
The official building plaque was dedicated by former Mayor Sly James, Mayor Quinton Lucas, and Director of Aviation Pat Klein. Because the terminal achieved LEED Gold certification, a plaque recognizing this milestone was dedicated by Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Meg McAllister, U.S. Green Building Council President and CEO Peter Templeton, City of Kansas City Manager Brian Platt, and Director of Aviation Pat Klein. The International Arrivals area was dedicated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations Lafonda Sutton-Burke and Director of Aviation Pat Klein. Additional ribbon-cutting events were held at the USO, Vantage Airport Group City Market concessions area, and Variety KC inclusive playground. Some of the airlines held their own ribbon cutting celebrations.
The New Terminal opening marks the end of the three-building terminal complex that opened more than 50 years ago on November 11, 1972. Terminal A was razed to make way for construction of the New Terminal and garage, and terminals B and C have remained in operation. They officially close with the opening of the New Terminal. The two old terminals will be razed. Terminal B garage will remain and serve as employee parking and Terminal C garage will be used for public parking in the future.
Led by developer Edgemoor Infrastructure & Real Estate and their design-build partner Clark | Weitz | Clarkson, the Build KCI project generated up to 6,000 construction-related jobs. More than 240 Kansas City-area firms worked on the project with 130-plus minority- and women-owned business partners. The project is funded using 100 percent tax-exempt debt – the most cost-efficient approach for the project.
New Terminal project information is available at BuildKCI.com.
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. Visit FlyKC.com for more information. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.