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Kansas City International Airport

From Academic Kids

Kansas City International Airport is an airport in Kansas City, Missouri, in Platte County. It has the IATA Airport Code MCI. (The airport was originally called Mid-Continent International. This is especially confusing, since the 'real' Mid Continent International airport in Wichita, Kansas now uses the IATA code ICT.)

This airport began life as a small reliever airport for what is now Kansas City Downtown Airport. The downtown airport was very convenient, but was not fit for the jet age, due to its short runway and proximity to the downtown area. In order to accommodate the more demanding jets, the city built the International Airport on the site of the reliever facility, and in 1973, the new airport opened for business. Almost all the airlines that were at the old facility moved to the new airport. This airport served as a hub for the now defunct Eastern Airlines, as well as Braniff Airlines (also out of business) and TWA (now part of American Airlines). Now MCI is a focus city of US Airways and Midwest Airlines. MCI was a major service facility for TWA, and as of Jan 2004, the status of the TWA repair depot under American Airlines is undecided.

MCI is a major airport, but serves more of a role as a "spoke" in the national airline network. At 10,000 acres (40 km²), it is one of the largest airfields in the United States. In addition to passenger service, the airport is an active general aviation field, and a very active cargo airport.

Contents

Design

MCI passenger terminals have a unique structure comprising 3 terminals in the shape of rings. Each ring has short term parking in the center of the ring. Thus, it is possible for a traveler to park, walk no more than a hundred feet, and go directly to their gate. Arriving travelers can leave their gate, and walk immediately out of the terminal without passing through any corridors.

Security issues

This design is very traveler-friendly, but was designed before skyjacking and terrorism became a part of the air travel mentality. Therefore, the airport is very expensive to operate, since rather than having a single security checkpoint to pass through, each cluster of 2 or 3 gates must have its own x-ray, metal detector and guards. This expense caused TWA to use Lambert field in St. Louis as its hub rather than MCI.

After the establishment of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), MCI was one of five airports where the TSA has experimented with using independent contractors to provide all traveler inspector services. TSA uses independent contractor security staff who conform to TSA's recruiting and training standards. TSA supervises these independent contractors, but they are not federal employees.

See: TSA Announcement of Private Security Screening Pilot Program (http://www.dot.gov/affairs/tsa2902.htm)

Status 2004

The $258 million Terminal Improvement Project was completed in November 2004. All three terminals now include blue terrazo floors, increased retail space, and updated arrival/departure screens. The overall improvement project will continue through 2006, and include a new rental car facility and additional art fixtures.

Also in November 2004, the city announced that restrooms would be built inside secured passenger holding areas. This has been a constant complaint by passengers. Designers of the renovated facility decided against the idea, which would cost $5 million.

Terminals

Terminal A

Gates 1-20

Terminal B

Gates 26-56

Terminal C

Gates 61-90

External link

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