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In Face Of Strong Airline Influence, New Kansas City Airport Committee Asserts Authority

KC Aviation Department?Steve Bell

The Kansas City Council's new Airport Committee is making it clear that the airlines will not dictate the future of KCI. 

The committee held its first meeting on Tuesday, and the main course was a report from Aviation Director Mark VanLoh on the history and status of the airport.

Councilwoman Teresa Loar was perhaps the most assertive with VanLoh when he suggested that since the airlines will pay for whatever is done, they should have the most say in whether the airport terminal is renovated or replaced.

Loar was quick to interject, “Well... I think the city council will certainly have a say in it too. I think we do want to look at renovation versus a new facility, too.  Some of us who were on the campaign trail for almost a year, and we got beat over the head with this particular issue.”

All committee members seemed skeptical or cautious about the recommendation by an aviation group that includes Southwest Airlines, that the least expensive and most effective option would be to tear down the 43-year-old three-module terminal and build a new one.

Committee Chair Jolie Justus asked VanLoh for detailed information on both courses of action. She also said it is the committee that will make the final recommendation and the final decision is up to the city council and the voters, who would have to approve the bonds to finance either option.

The committee plans to tour the airport at its next meeting Sept. 8. They hope to have a final airport development plan by no later than April.

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