Airlines that serve the Kansas City (MO) International Airport have said they prefer the local consortium led by Burns & McDonnell to build the new $1 billion terminal, according to The Kansas City Star, although they added they would work with whatever team is chosen.
No matter which team the selection committee chooses — a decision that is supposed to come later this week — the Kansas City Council must approve the choice, and voters must endorse the project at the ballot box.
The airlines wield a great deal of influence because they pay for a large share of terminal improvements at the airport.
This is bound to be disappointing news for the AECOM-led consortium, as well as the other teams, as the selection committee's decision draws near. Burns & McDonnell, however, was the first to suggest building one big new terminal using private financing to replace the three existing ones at KCI. When news of Burns & McDonnell's proposal was made public, AECOM offered its services as well. That led to airport officials opening up the project to other bids, and there are now a total of four teams in the running.
New airport terminal projects are popping up all over the country, as many of them are aging and cannot accommodate the increased number of passengers since the facilities were first built.
A March report from Airports Council International–North America found that the country's airports are in poor condition. The group said it would take about $100 billion over the next five years to make the necessary infrastructure improvements there. The Federal Aviation Administration has issued several rounds of grants since the beginning of the year, but it's nowhere near the amount needed to meet the need.
One funding mechanism airport advocates have said would help cover some of the necessary capital improvements is an increase to the current $4.50 per passenger facility charge. The fee goes toward airport improvements and hasn't been increased in more than 15 years.
For now, however, big terminal projects are getting some help from public-private partnerships (P3s), like the one delivering a $4 billion terminal at LaGuardia Airport. LaGuardia Gateway Partners, a consortium that includes Skanska USA, is providing financing, design-build services, as well as operations and maintenance when the project is complete.