Airport Officials Riding Out Fluctuations In Activity
Despite a recent 20 percent decrease in airline capacity -- as
well as losing out on a proposed $375 million Bombardier assembly
plant -- Kansas City International Airport (MCI) officials are
After losing three carriers, almost a dozen nonstop flights and
a lucrative contract this year, the situation looks bad on paper,
according to KC Community News. But Justin Meyer, manager of air
service development for the Kansas City Aviation Department, said,
"It would be pretty naïve to look at what we have now and call
it something other than the ups and downs of the industry."
"Twelve months or 24 months from now, we could probably be in a
spot to call it something else. There is always going to be air
travel in the US and around the world. It's a critical part of
business. People can buy Vespas and take light rail, but you still
need to get from A to B and across the ocean faster than on a
boat," Meyer said.
Asserting that the "spike" in 2007's figures make things look
worse than they really are, Meyer continued, "A lot of our decline
is based on growth in 2007 that was unsustainable, carriers who
couldn't make it work. The good news is that 2008 is going to look
a lot like 2005 did. We're going back to a place we were not too
Dispelling the notion that KCI is risking a loss of status as a
major hub, Meyers pointed out KCI gains stability from being
serviced by several major air carriers -- namely Southwest
Airlines, Midwest Airlines, and American Airlines -- thereby
lessening the impact of losing ExpressJet, Air Midwest, and Skybus
earlier this year.
As ANN reported, Kansas City lost out on its
bid for a $375 million Bombardier plant last July, which would have
brought an estimated 2,000 new jobs to the area. Joe McBride,
Kansas City Aviation Department spokesman, is philosophical about
"By being invested in these large deals, it raises the profile
of the city internationally for when similar projects are being
contemplated," McBride said. "It's kind of like any sales job. The
more deals you're after, the more chance you have at landing
something. If you sit back and don't act, nothing will happen.
We're being aggressive about economic development."
Partnering with Dallas-based Trammel Crow Company, KCI hopes to
develop the 800-acre parcel previously slated for Bombardier.
The latest of the airport's woes came with American Airlines'
announcement of a January 2009 maintenance shift, which threatens
the jobs of the 600 employees of its overhaul base at KCI,
Community News said. McBride is hopeful that with the airport's
assistance, the airline can keep the overhaul base open by finding
"Times are tough for the airline industry, but we want (American
Airlines) to stick it out and work with us to keep the building
occupied," McBride said. "We would rather not try to maintain it.
It won't be an easy proposition, but nothing ventured, nothing
Kansas City International was ranked No. 1 among medium-size
airports in the 2007 North America Airport Satisfaction Study
conducted by J. D. Power and Associates.