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Video: Kansas City International Airport Unveils New Terminal

The $1.5 billion project will open on February 28, consolidating operations into a single facility

by Dan Booth

February 8, 2023

Photo: Courtesy of Kansas City International Airport

Kansas City International Airport’s new one-million-square-foot terminal is scheduled to go into service on Tuesday, February 28. The opening is just in time for the city to host the 2023 NFL Draft and Midwest Regional March Madness matchups.

Construction on the $1.5 billion project—city leaders say it is the most expensive infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history—began in March 2019. The single terminal building replaces the three original horseshoe-shaped structures, which date back to the airport’s opening in 1972.

The new terminal houses 39 gates with glass passenger boarding bridges and the capacity to expand to 50 gates in the future. An adjacent covered parking garage offers 6,100 spaces, plus dedicated curb spaces for taxis, ride-sharing platforms, and shuttles. In addition, the terminal will be the first in the US with wireless electric bus charging, expanding the airport’s environmental efforts.

The design features dedicated arrival and departure levels, consolidated security checkpoints, and moving walkways. The spacious interior is awash with natural light and showcases Kansas City’s famous fountains.

Concessions include up to 50 different restaurants and shops arranged around other areas of Kansas City, such as City Market, 18th and Vine, and the Stockyards, focusing on locally based companies. The airport has also made a $5.6 million investment in public art, with sculptures, paintings, and installations reflecting Kansas City’s history and culture.

Officials estimate the new terminal will almost double the current airport’s passenger capacity, from 30,000 to more than 50,000 passengers daily. The facility is also boosting services by adding more routes and new airlines.

New Airline Routes

Sun Country Airlines is beginning operations at the airport, launching nonstop, seasonal service to Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) this summer, and Southwest Airlines is resuming service in April to Indianapolis and Albuquerque—both of which were axed during the pandemic.

Southwest also says frequencies to Atlanta, Los Angeles, San Diego, and St. Louis will also be increased in April. In addition, this summer the carrier will continue to add flights to Las Vegas, Pensacola, Orlando, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, San Antonio, and Long Beach.

Air Canada will also bring back seasonal, nonstop flights in June, and Delta Air Lines is opening up a Sky Club Lounge at KCI.

Locals and frequent travelers refer to Kansas City International Airport by its initials, KCI. However, officially the airport’s IATA code is MCI, derived from its original name, the Mid-Continent International Airport.

On February 27, all arrivals and departures will operate from the old terminals. Overnight, airlines will move their planes to the new terminal for morning departures. The first scheduled flight on February 28 is a Southwest flight to Chicago Midway, departing at 5 AM.

However, before flight operations begin, members of the public can get a glimpse of the new terminal during an open house on February 18 from 9 AM to 7 PM. According to airport officials, the in-person open house has maxed capacity, but you can sign up for a live stream of the event here.