Kansas City will officially open its new 1-million-square-foot terminal on Feb. 28. As the largest infrastructure project in Kansas City’s history, the new $1.5 billion single Kansas City International (MCI) terminal will be one of the most inclusive in the U.S.
With features including a sensory room, all-gender restrooms with adult-sized changing tables, and an “airplane simulation room” that will allow extra-weary travelers — including young children — to practice going through security and boarding a real aircraft, the terminal is setting new accessibility and inclusiveness standards for the industry.
“For the last four years the project team has worked diligently to keep the new terminal on schedule and on budget,” said Pat Klein, director of aviation. “As we approach the finish line, I can’t help but thank the stakeholders who’ve contributed greatly and the residents of the entire region for their ongoing support.”
The sleek, contemporary terminal will feature $5.6 million in commissioned art from 28 international, regional and local artists. The new terminal is aiming to be LEED Gold certified, and it’s designed to provide ample natural light, with a maximized window-to-wall ratio and the use of natural elements wherever possible. The external windows are designed to reduce glare, and parking garages are powered by solar panels.
The facility will also include an expanded parking lot with 6,100 spaces, 15 family restrooms, 10 dedicated infant feeding rooms, a family play zone, indoor/outdoor pet relief areas, meeting spaces, all-glass passenger jet bridges and more.
The modern terminal will also feature dining options unique to the region, including Stockyards Brewing, Urban Café, Bo Lings and Meat Mitch, among others. Other updates include live music by local musicians on stages and an outdoor courtyard connected to the arrivals level.
“We’re thrilled to usher in a new era of air travel for the Kansas City community as the new terminal brings remarkable upgrades and enhancements for travelers and employees who work at the airport,” said Steve Sisneros, vice president of airport affairs at Southwest Airlines.
“As the airline with the most flights from Kansas City, we’re looking forward to connecting travelers to the people and places important in their lives through the world-class facilities that will soon serve as the region’s new front door. We appreciate the dedication and partnership of the Kansas City Aviation Department and the vision of Kansas City to build a terminal the city can be proud of for decades to come.”
On Tuesday, February 28, at 1 a.m. CST, all flights will switch from the existing “horseshoe” terminal — largely unchanged since it was originally constructed in 1972 — to the new terminal.
“With thousands of global visitors coming to KC in the next few years to experience the NFL Draft, 2026 FIFA World Cup and more, the new MCI terminal will elevate the region’s first and last impression for travelers as they come through the KC Heartland,” said Tim Cowden, president and CEO at the Kansas City Area Development Council.
“This state-of-the-art terminal boasts inclusive spaces and extensive upgrades, which will support our ongoing efforts to attract new business and talent to the region.”
The new terminal has already played a role in a successful effort for Kansas City to host the 2023 NFL Draft and the region’s bid to be a host city for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Both play into the larger effort to show off Kansas City to the world.
The project was a team effort led by the Kansas City Aviation Department, Edgemoor Infrastructure and Real Estate and joint venture Clark | Weitz | Clarkson. The Build KCI project generated up to 5,000 construction-related jobs. More than 240 firms from the Kansas City region were on the project, with more than 130 minority- and women-owned business partners. The project was funded using 100 percent tax-exempt debt — the most cost-efficient approach.
About the Kansas City Airport System
The Kansas City Airport System is an Enterprise Fund Department of the City of Kansas City, Mo., and is supported wholly by airport user charges. No general fund tax revenues are used for the administration, promotion, operation, or maintenance of the airports in the system.
About Greater Kansas City
Home to 2.5 million people, Kansas City is a vibrant metro in the heart of the U.S., known as the “KC Heartland.” The KC region is a center for leading industries including technology, logistics, animal health and entrepreneurship, and is home to a renowned arts community.
About the Kansas City Area Development Council (KCADC)
Serving the 18-county, two-state Kansas City area, the Kansas City Area Development Council is an economic development nonprofit that promotes the region’s business and lifestyle assets to companies and talent around the world. Working closely with its two states, and 50-plus county and community partners, the region has attracted more than 65,000 new jobs over its nearly 50-year history. KCADC also leads the efforts behind the KC Animal Health Corridor, KC SmartPort, TeamKC, KC Global Design and KC Heartland.
Featured image credited to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill