New Rental Car Facility is KCI's Latest Upgrade

March 1, 2006
By the time the rental car facility opens, KCI will be sporting more than $410 million worth of improvements in the last six years.

The 21st century version of Kansas City International Airport is almost complete.

The three terminals have been renovated. A new customized parking lot has opened.

And early next year, a consolidated rental car facility will be operating on the site of the old outdoor satellite lot.

The $90 million rental car facility will be the airport's last attention-grabbing capital project for the near future, KCI officials said.

But by the time it opens, KCI will be sporting more than $410 million worth of improvements in the last six years.

Construction started last year on the rental car facility, located along Cookingham Drive between Paris and Bern streets.

When it opens, it will bring all of the rental car agencies that serve KCI into one location.

Currently, the rental car companies are spread out along the airport property and are far away from the terminals.

Airports nationwide, including those in Houston, Dallas and Cleveland, have centralized rental car facilities, said KCI engineering director Phil Muncy.

"It's the wave of the future," he said.

The frame of the rental car facility's main building - a 135,000 square-foot, two-level, shared customer service center - is up in what will be the middle of the 72-acre facility.

Travelers who rent a vehicle will go by bus to and from the customer service building through an underground tunnel, which is also in the early stages of construction.

On the perimeter are several smaller buildings that will be dedicated service areas for each of the rental car companies. Those are where vehicles will be fueled, cleaned and serviced.

The airport will own and operate the buses, eliminating the need for each car rental agency to run buses. That will reduce traffic congestion outside the terminals and cut down on air pollution, said KCI spokesman Joe McBride.

The rest of the facility will be a surface parking lot with room for 8,000 rental cars.

General airport revenue bonds, which Kansas City voters approved in 2000, were issued for construction of the rental car facility, as well as the economy parking lot and improvements to the American Airlines overhaul base.

Another ongoing capital project at KCI is the construction of restrooms in the passenger holding areas of the terminals.

Muncy said all of the restrooms have been installed in Terminals A and B. In Terminal C, three restrooms will be completed in April and the final two will be done in August.

The airport also is nearing the completion of its design of an in-line baggage screening system.

The airport's new fire station became operational in October. It is on the airfield behind Terminals A and B and close enough to all three runways to meet federal response time guidelines.

First Glance

- The consolidated rental car facility at Kansas City International Airport is scheduled to open in early 2007.

Kansas City Star

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