Taxpayers are seldom thrilled with dropping $1.2 billion on pretty much anything, let alone on a new airport. Even when the money’s not supposed to come out of their pockets.
But can we please dispense with the hyperbole about KCI being “beloved” and locals having a “love affair” with the city’s 41 year-old paean to the past? I mean, it’s possibly the dumbest thing the newspaper’s ever “reported.”
KCI may be easy to get in and out of – and it is – but anybody with half a clue knows our airport is an embarrassment to Kansas City and looks more like a glorified (but outdated) Greyhound Bus station than it does a major metropolitan airport.
“It’s pretty effing embarrassing,” says comedy club czar Craig Glazer. “Ninety percent of our comics fly here from New York or LA and they say it’s the most boring place they’ve seen. And like Jim Jeffries says, good luck finding a cab. It’s one of the only airports I know of where you actually have to call a cab.”
The problem being KCI has three terminals when it only needs one.
“When they built it in 1972 we were going to be an international airport and have flights going from here to Germany and London because we had all those airlines,” Glazer says. “But there is no TWA or Braniff anymore. We’re down to just a handful of major carriers, so we don’t need three terminals today, not the way it’s set up.”
That’s because spreading things out between three far flung and lightly trafficked terminals, creates a ghost town effect. The net result being that none of the terminals gets enough bodies or biz to achieve critical mass.
“Our airport is horrible,” Glazer says. “Nobody wants to come here unless they have to. I’ve not been to any major airport that has less options for anything.”
Consolidating into a single terminal would breath life (as in foot traffic) into KCI and enable halfway decent restaurants, standing taxis to make a profit. Traffic that would enable the airport to attract higher quality vendors, restaurants and bars.
Yet here we go again today in the Star with business editor Keith Chrostowski yapping about “Kansas Citians being asked to jilt their beloved KCI” and locals having a “love affair” with the airport.
Chrostowski actually wrote an excellent column, outlining the many advantages of building a new, single terminal airport. However headlines like “breaking Up Is Hard To Do” and cartoon captions like, “We think this is the best airport in the universe” are inexplicably foolish and undermine the larger issue.
“I don’t know what he’s talking about, I think that’s really kind of silly,” Glazer says. “I have not ever met one person that’s told me that they love our airport. I mean, it’s so goddam boring. A love affair with what? The one Starbucks? What’s there to love? It’s like, ‘Oh, it’s got my favorite what?’ It has no amenities. That’s ridiculous.
“It’s bad for Kansas city’s image; an airport in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do there and god forbid if you’re stuck out there for a day or two at a hotel. That’s what you’re going to think Kansas City is like.”