2 small airlines protest price of Kansas City airport plan
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Two small airlines are protesting the price tag for the new single terminal project at Kansas City International Airport.
Executives at Spirit and Allegiant airlines outlined their concerns in letters to the Kansas City Council Airport Committee, citing the $1.6 billion project price and cost-sharing issues, The Kansas City Star reported Friday.
Voters approved the project last year, but the cost is supposed to be borne by airlines that use the airport. The project will create a single terminal to replace the three horseshoe-style buildings at Kansas City’s main airport.
Mayor Sly James said the dispute is over how the airlines will split costs and that the airlines themselves must work through it. James says the city will “push forward” with the project.
“We will insist, however, that this resolution of their internal dispute be reasonable and fair and in no way diminish the flight or service options for our flying public,” James said. “We’re not going to allow this project, which is so important to this city, to be the platform for resolution of national issues and disputes between large and small airline carriers.”
He said the dispute includes how to pay for a $20 million baggage claim system.
Airlines are still negotiating the agreement and it is unclear what the airlines have proposed for splitting the costs.
Spirit and Allegiant executives both said in their letters that the city needs an upgraded airport.
“However, we believe the current investment proposal is simply ... too costly for smaller new entrant carriers to bear and still deliver the value that we deliver to the community in terms of low airfares,” Spirit executive Matt Klein said.
Allegiant’s vice president of airports and government affairs, Keith Hansen, said that larger airlines were expecting smaller airlines to shoulder an unreasonably large portion of the costs of operating the airport.
“Given that the terms for the new airport rates and charges agreement remain unknown and considering the larger carriers continue to reject equitable cost allocation, Allegiant cannot support the terminal development program at this time,” Hansen said.
Information from: The Kansas City Star, http://www.kcstar.com