It is becoming easier to imagine the flocks of passengers passing through security, perhaps having a coffee or something to eat as they make their way to the gates for their airplanes at Concourse A or B of the new single terminal at Kansas International Airport. City.
During a media tour of the new terminal on Monday afternoon, Pat Klein, director of aviation for Kansas City, said he checked his schedule and realized that the opening of the new terminal is coming quickly, less than six months old. of distance.
“Now that we’re in the last six months, it’s a good feeling, but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done with a lot of people and it needs to be well coordinated,” Klein said. “So everyone is in that final sprint to make sure everyone does their bit, so we open up time and budget at the end.”
The $ 1.5 billion project started in March 2019 and is expected to be completed and opened in March.
“It was a long process, a big project, you know, nearly 100 acres of work,” Klein said. “It’s amazing how fast he went.”
The overall project is 90% complete, airport officials said. The interior of the terminal is approximately 80%, while the airside flooring is 85% complete and the baggage handling system is 90% complete.
The huge ticketing hall of the new terminal is where passengers will head after being dropped off or parked in the 6,100-seat garage adjacent to the terminal.
“This will be where passengers will use a kiosk or approach a check-in counter to check in with their airline and begin their journey,” said Justin Meyer, Deputy Director of the Department of Aviation. of Kansas City.
The huge ticket hall is about 70-75 percent complete, he said. The terrazzo floor has been laid, but not yet rectified. The teams were installing the Hemlock wood ceiling from Missouri. Limestone from Missouri was almost completely installed on the wall behind the ticket booths.
From the ticket office, passengers will pass through an established security checkpoint.
“This location will have 16 security checkpoints on opening day and the ability to grow to 18 without the need for further expansions in this space,” Meyer said.
Although there will be restrooms before going through security, most of the restrooms in the new terminal will be inside the safe area.
“Passengers want to come to the airport, check in and get to their gate and then they want to figure out what to do with that extra time in front of them,” he said.
Once through security, they will be able to use any service, including around 50 restaurants and retail stores.
“With these 50 concession spaces that we have, most of them are local and we have some national brands,” said Lovell Holloway, general manager of the Vantage Airport Group who will manage the concessions in the new terminal.
The expected date for the construction of the concession spaces is December 30th. Everyone will be ready for the day the terminal opens, he said. About 80% of the brands are local to the Kansas City region.
“We really wanted to bring the Kansas City experience to life,” he said. “We wanted this to be the gateway to the city.”
In the southern half of Concourse B, which is the longest, the seating is assembled and installed. Entrance signs and passenger boarding bridges were also installed, partly made of glass.
“We have three large toilet centers in each concourse,” Meyer said, including a service animal care area that includes a small red fire hydrant.
Dan Brownlee, station manager at Southwest Airlines in Kansas City, said larger windows that let in natural light, higher ceilings, and larger gate areas are what their customers are looking for.
“We are very grateful and proud to be in this new home,” Brownlee said.
Some of the artwork has already been installed at the airport, including Michael Szivos’ “Cloud Gazing” in the nearly 630-foot-long concourse connector, said James Martin, Kansas City Public Art Administrator.
Members of the artist’s team were due to fly to Kansas City on Monday night to do some tests on Tuesday.
“We’ve done studio visits with the Kansas City artists and most of them are almost finished,” said Martin. He said he hears good things from the other artists involved.
“It was gratifying to see how far they are,” he said.
Before the terminal opens, there will be a community open house and workforce appreciation day. Plans are still in development and people will likely make reservations, so not everyone shows up at the same time. No date is set yet, but it could happen the first part of February.
“We think we could probably have a Saturday, if we start early and finish late, 10,000 people here, which is pretty significant,” he said.
The opening date of the new terminal has not been determined, but will likely occur between Presidents Day weekend and spring break. An announcement for the opening date could take place as early as the first week of January, Meyer said.
In the coming weeks, the aviation department will be asking people to sign up to be on a list of those who are willing to go out and test the facility.
“We will have a few days of operational testing where we will need, you know, 300 people to go out and we will give them a ticket and we will say, ‘You are 12:30, Gate A-10 and I need you to go to the bathroom and buy a coffee and have the whole experience, ‘”Meyer said.
When the new terminal opens, Klein said he wants to be seated in the check-in lounge when people start arriving for their morning flights only to see the amazement in their eyes when they see the terrazzo floor, the limestone wall. and the wood on the ceiling.
“It will be a good experience,” said Klein, who hopes people love the new terminal as much as the current terminals. “I can’t wait to see him.”
This story was originally published September 19, 2022 9:45 pm.