Wednesday, January 29, 2014


TKC Note: A really great, well-written and insightful bit of writing that FACT CHECKS the Kansas City single-terminal cheerleaders. Check it . . .

Please stop 'hub' nonsense - celebrate our 21st century flow through design

Please stop this hub nonsense about KCI. Here is but one of many articles explaining how cities less than 5 million only make the most vulnerable hubs.

Brookings: Another Funeral for the Midsize Airline Hub

We do not have the population of Chicago or Dallas-Ft. Worth, the low-cost take-off and landing altitude of Denver or the magnet attractions of a Las Vegas or Orlando (I note that you did not mention Disney World).

You also do not mention the billions of dollars in public contracts administered out of Austin nor that city’s and Nashville’s vibrant music scenes. Please do not try to compare our jazz heritage and 18th & Vine with these other venues.

We are fortunate that SWA has a hub here. That is due to a number of factors. First, it really exploded during the internet bubble when airline volume reached all-time highs. At this time, SWA had no presence in Denver. It does now. Please note the decline on SWA non-stop direct flights since its entry into the Denver hub.

Southwest was also the first airline to form a true hybrid of hub-and-spoke and point-to-point route structures. Kansas City fits into this structure. But, it means proportionally fewer thru passengers need to change planes while at the airport. Most just stay onboard. No secure mega mall required.

Please also look at Kansas City history. BRANIFF!!!! Flash forward to Vantage. Also review the evolution of Midwest. Why do you avoid such obvious historical examples? Maybe this would stop business men who should know better from demanding more non-stop service that can only be justified by higher passenger volume.

KCI is not perfect. It was built in an era of trust when security was not so necessary. Whatever happens, this issue must be better addressed. Simultaneously, ever newer, more compact and more effective security hardware must be considered. You consistently fail to report on security options. You also fail to point out single terminal disasters such as John Wayne Airport in Orange County, CA.

KCI was also built for a smaller population base when automobile volume was not as high. But, the parking complaints border on the absurd. Have these whiners ever tried to park at DFW or O’Hare or LAX? Please note that all of these airports (with much more expensive real estate) offer cell phone parking lots where you can wait without charge until your arriving passenger calls you for pickup. Fire the KCI airport management for blocking this no-brainer amenity.

Also, please tell the Sprint executives that smart phones now have apps to tell you if your flight is on time. You can then better schedule your arrival to the airport to minimize wait time before your flight’s departure. Perhaps Sprint coverage is so bad or the employees are so poorly trained or just generally incompetent that they are unaware of this technology? Maybe Sprint folks just prefer to get there needlessly early so that they can grouse about the amenities while wearing down their batteries? Oh, and there is internet check in now. Maybe we should tell them about it.

How can Marcusse keep his job? A major CEO of a corporation that needs a home for thousands of high paying jobs flies into town and the president of the development council does not meet him with a limo to whisk him away to one of our many world class restaurants? Marcusse then uses the tired NSA tactic of saying, “There are many examples proving my point but I can’t tell you about them.” No responsible journalist should print such statements.

And, please, stop with the Terminal A stories. You may as well be talking about crummy stage coach service. Ancient history.

What does KCI have going for it. It is much more a ‘flow thru’ versus a warehouse facility. 21st Century logistics recognizes that the key to an efficient operation is to keep thing flowing as quickly as possible. A big screen TV makes no money sitting in a warehouse – get it to the showroom floor ASAP where someone will buy it. Or, sell it on Amazon and go even faster from factory to home user. Passengers want to be treated the same way. They want to get from point A to point B. They do not want to spend excess time in an intermediate warehouse to enjoy overpriced food and shopping. KCI can be improved by increasing this ‘velocity’. For example, speed up baggage handling. Here’s an idea: somehow check in bags on the shuttle bus from the parking lot? Possible? Why not explore this versus ‘hub’ fantasies?

Can we increase more international flights? If a carrier employed the Boeing Dreamliner, it could offer non-stops to Europe and Asia. Are there enough passengers to support such a service? You won’t find out looking at ‘peer’ airports. (Study of ‘peer airports’ = Mommy, Billy and Johnny have one. Why can’t I have one too?) You need to study local conditions. Otherwise, the consulting contract is a complete waste of money unless you are only interested in justifying a conclusion that you have already made for a problem you have not properly defined.

You can do good work. Please do so now.


Anonymous said...

Good suggestions all but underestimates all of the dollars to be made in the development process.

Anonymous said...

These anti airport people have way to much time on their hands, my god lol!

Anonymous said...

Yes, 5:57, all the time in the world to stop you Mark VanLoh fanboys from fucking up a perfectly good airport.

Carl, Mission Hills said...

This is Kansas City not New York, Chicago, LA or even close to being a Vegas wanna be type city. We don't need an airport like is in those cities. When are these people going to understand we can't afford to pay for all these high dollar attractions that will attract nobody.

Anonymous said...

But, but the economy has reached escape velocity and recovered completely from the global economic crash of 2008!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sly said all the kids want is an internet connection. Why a new airport now? When Google offers a flight simulator in Google Earth?

Anonymous said...

Not sure we have a perfectly good airport. Convenient perhaps for the short term.

I know less about airport design and management that I know about how the computer on my desktop works. Having the balls to admit when I am not an expert or fully knowledgeable
about an issue has (other have said)helped me be successful in what I am skilled in.

I fly out of KCI maybe 3 times a year, and I don't know if that makes me average or what. I do know, that it's important to get the facts before making a judgement.

Am I an outlyer here?

If nothing else, much of the posts on this site represent visceral responses born of hating change or those who are different. Not sure I would use the airport that a committee of TK tipsters would come up with.

Anonymous said...

I fly quite often between KC and Oakland. There used to be three non-stops daily, now there is one a day.

Anonymous said...

This whole fiasco is just like the translational medical tax scam.
A little self-selected group of folks get together, decide what they want, how to do it, and most imporantly, who gets what out of it, and then they have to sell it to the public.
But the rationales have been so consistently stupid and so constantly changing that what little credibility there was at the beginning is long gone and it;s difficult to even consider the proposal on its merits.
It's going to take some real doing to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Anonymous said...

Southwest doesn't have hubs. it's a point to point airline.

Therefore your argument would not be considered valid.

Anonymous said...

Semantic point.

KCI is not a "hub" in the strict sense but serves as a connecting hub for half of Southwest's flights out of here. This is why there is concern about the cost of a new terminal being passed along. They can't pass along the cost to guy that flies from San Diego to Boston connecting through KC.

Anonymous said...

I fly in and out of KCI at least 100 times per year. I moved up north just so I could enjoy more convenience and get from plane landing to home in less than 30 minutes (not kidding). I've done every airport in America - KCI beats all of them. Just close one of the terminals and make it the central security area, develop a train transport to take you to the other two terminals (like Orlando), save $500mil and get re-elected. It's not rocket-surgery.

Anonymous said...

That might make sense 11:11 and well that never happens in this town.

Anonymous said...

I love KCI, dont change it.

Anonymous said...

When you combine the arrogance of Sly James, Russ Johnson and Mark Van Loh you know what's really going on. Anyone associated with local gov't knows exactly what I'm saying.

Anonymous said...

Let my people vote. On a new airport.

Anonymous said...

The lack of a world class airport isn't what is keeping KC from being Dallas or Houston. The lack of a toy train between two places that nobody outside of KC give a shit about (and most in KC don't give a shit about) is not what is keeping KC from being Boston or Austin or anywhere better. Kansas City is mediocre at best because of the regionalism within the metro (Northland, JoCo, WyCo, Lee's Summitt/east and KC) and the lack of cohesion as a city. KC is mediocre at best because what should be the shinning star of the region, KCMO, is a crime ridden shithole that features an absurd murder-rate, unaccredited schools (for years), and corrupt ass-hats for leaders that think the cure to the cities ills is to spend $200m on a two mile toy train and a billion on an airport. Large companies aren't avoiding moving to KC because of the airport or lack of a trolley. They are avoiding moving to KC because their children will not receive an adequate education even if they survive being murdered (note I said "adequate", not "Good" or "Great" - but "adequate" would be a gigantic leap for KC). I remember when KC used to be a truly neat city and hidden gem (70's, half the 80's) but it started to suck in the late 80's and has continued its downward spiral. I was stuck their for 22 years after growing up in Houston and I fortunately been able to repatriate to Texas. I smile at my choice every time I read Tony's blog. So much potential in KC, such horrible leadership and execution.