Sunday, November 05, 2017
TKC SUNDAY TESTIMONY: AVIATION INSIDER WARNS AGAINST SKETCHY NEW SINGLE-TERMINAL AIRPORT FINANCING!!!
More SIGNED INSIDER AIRPORT DEETS from a local denizen with unmatched experience on all things related to aviation.
A perspective from one of the best and brightest of our blog community: "I tend to believe the sincerity of this guy over anything that comes out of the Mayor’s mouth. Mayor James has given me every reason to think that way."
Here's a comprehensive look at the airport issue from an industry perspective . . .
Kansas City Aviation Expert Don Hensley: KCI New Terminal Vote Nov. 7th.
Hello, I am Don Hensley who has been and always will be an "Advocate" to Aviation in Kansas City and at many other locations in my career. I have 50 years of Aviation experience, worked for the FAA for 33 years, worked at 9 airports and was the Air Traffic Manager of three major Airport, MCI, STL & DFW. I am a Commercial pilot with an instrument, multi-engine and flight instructor ratings with over 4,400 hours. I have been in the KC area for over 30 years and was directly involved when KCI/MCI developed and built the new parallel runway which more than doubled MCI capacity. In my years at MCI I lead the team that built the new ATCT and TRACON and completely overhauled the entire airspace in the KC area. I have owned and operated 7 different aircraft in my life as a pilot. I provide you this short Bio to hopefully show that I am not just a "Jonny Come Lately" that knows nothing about Aviation.
KCI has been a “CASH COW” for Aviation in Kansas City. The Tree Terminals (A,B,& C) provide over 1M sq. ft. of space, 66 gates with 47 jet bridges, and in the City’s Moody 2016 report states that the terminals have adequate space for the future.
In 2017 KCI will handle 5.3M Origin and Destination passengers (O&D). 95.4% of KCI’s traffic at KCI is O&D with 4.6% being connecting passengers. Only 1% of the connecting passengers connect to a different airline. International passenger is just 1% of the 5.3M or 58,000. We have no direct flights to Europe and out of the top 50 airports in the country 23 of them are medium hub airports similar to KCI and 18 of the 23 do not have direct flights to Europe.
So KCI is not unique in that since. KCI will always struggle with getting a major International carrier into KCI because of DEN, ORD, DFW, ATL, all of which are just 1.5 hours away. Besides our population of 2.4M in the Kansas City Metro area does not support a major International airline. Our current terminals are more than adequate for many years to come. The KCI Aviation Department in with City Hall decided to close Terminal A along with the 2000+ parking garage in late 2014/2015 and moved the two busiest airlines into Terminal B. So basically what they did was put 60% of all the passengers into and out of Terminal B. They then established a Valet Parking service in front of SWA terminal area. This created congestion and a shortage of parking of which they now claim is a major reason for a new terminal which was all self-imposed. Of course all you see on the news and in the paper are pictures of Terminal B during its busiest times and yes at any airport at its busiest time passenger traffic is hectic.
I have watched many airlines come and go and many go bankrupt at MCI and at many other airports. A little known fact, every airline except three (SWA, Sprit, &Jet Blue) that has operated in the US has filed for bankruptcy at one time or another. The reason I bring this up is the Kansas City Aviation department is about to enter in to a new Airport Airline Agreement called a “Residual Airline/Airport Agreement”. KCI is abandoning the long standing Compensatory Agreement where they maintain control of the funds and expenditures. So what's the difference?
Well the Residual Airport/Airline agreement will put the Signatory Airlines in control of the funding/spending at KCI. They will have major control over spending of funds on any future infrastructure. Why is this important?? Over the past 10 years the KCI Aviation Department has funded MKC and provided over $120,000,000.00 dollars (this is not a typo $120M) to MKC for infrastructure and improvements as a reliever airport for MCI (see MKC donation doc). Under the old agreement Compensatory they have accumulate 600 days of cash on hand. (some estimate that to be $300M) KCI has undergone major renovation of runways and taxiways without bond support. Furthermore, Do we want the Airlines to be in charge of our airports and the Air Traffic Control system, well based on my read of general aviation and many users/passengers the answer is NO!!
If on Tuesday, Nov. 7th, the voters say Yes to the "NEW SINGLE TERMINAL" the aviation department will have a green light to destroy the current 66 gate now available and build a 35 gate single terminal (yes a 50% reduction in gates) at a cost of $1.3B. They are going to spend 1.3B to down grade our airport capacity by 50% and stifle an future growth or added airline service. This 1.3B debt will generate a $85M debt payment on top of the current $83M operating cost when KCI 2016 revenue was $127M. Do the math!!! $85M + $83M = $168M or a $41M shortfall. The Aviation department admitted that they will pay out $85.2M annually and over 30 years which equates to $2.556B when all said and done. That means we the passengers and tax payers are going to pay $72M per gate!! I have also learned that because of the new terminal issue at KCI that the funding that has been requested to build hangars where the RIS VOR (old NAVID) was located has been put on hold.
Folks before Nov. 7th. I urge you to visit www.cfrgkc.com and read the truth about the New Terminal and issue surrounding this issue. I urge you to view a documentary about the process employed by City Hall on this project. Watch KCPT-TV Week In Review (Nov. 3rd at 7:30 p.m.) where finally we had a balanced open adult discussion on the various issue.
I have attached several documents for easy access to information about the new proposed terminal.
I urge you to vote NO! on the new terminal proposal for the sake of all Aviation in KC.
Aviation Advocate for Kansas City