Monday, January 28, 2019
FIGHT THE NEW KCI MONEY GRAB!!!
Alec Monopoly is a groundbreaking artist who has transformed iconic symbols of American greed into political charged artistic expression. In much the same way, here's a note from our blog community which hopes to offer more insight and information on the current cash grab at the airport. Checkit:
Don't Let New KCI Passengers Get Skinned by a Monopoly
“Take a chill pill.” That’s Mayor James’ recent advice about the city’s negotiations with airlines about whether they will pay for the new KCI. Now comes a local news story, reported by TKC, quoting Southwest Airlines (SW). The story? SW continues to negotiate in good faith with the city and Edgemoor. The implication? Everything is on track, don’t worry. We should worry. Why? Read on.
The city is asking the airlines to pick up all the operating costs of the new airport, including a four billion construction hit (principal and interest over 35 years). The airline biz is one of the most competitive in the world. Airlines fight each other for every ticket, every nickel of operating costs. How likely is any airline to sign this deal, unless it gives them an advantage-- better yet monopoly-- over competitors? Answer: Somewhere in the range of not bloody likely to zero. SW is the largest domestic air carrier and widely seen as the no-frills traveler’s friend. We’ve seen suggestions that it would be great if the new airport were even a new SW hub. Be careful what you wish for. One analyst puts it this way:
“What all of this friendliness and insistence on simplicity and value hides is that Southwest is an economically ferocious airline. The same routes it created decades ago are now dominated by the company. If you want to fly St. Louis to Kansas City nonstop, you only have one option: Southwest. That’s true for hundreds of other routes too.”
What his piece is saying, and it’s far from alone, is be careful; don’t allow a single airline outsized influence on prices and competition. If a single carrier gets financial control, it can make all other airlines (and their passengers) using the new airport pay premium prices for everything from landing fees to baggage handling.
The new KCI needs real oversight from city leaders to protect the public interest (mayoral candidates, listening?). That oversight shouldn’t be limited merely to the cost of the new airport or which airline(s) will pay for it but should also include assurances that the flying public won’t get skinned by the deal in the form of reduced carrier choices and higher prices.
You decide . . .