The Kansas City Aviation Department is nearing completion on a $70 million refurbishment program at Kansas City Downtown Airport. The effort, begun in 2005, includes a $28 million project to raze and resurface both airport runways; $20 million to bulldoze 40 old hangars and replace them with 96 new hangars; $17 million for runway safety projects; and construction of a $1 million general aviation terminal, which includes a pilots’ lounge and large waiting room capable of accommodating up to 66 people, a self-fueling facility, and an outdoor aircraft wash bay.
In September, the state of Missouri awarded $3.5 million in economic incentives for construction of a new terminal building, hangars, and other facilities for Hangar 10, an FBO that opened a temporary facility on the field in May.
“It is becoming increasingly rare to find large U.S. cities with serviceable airports in the heart of downtown,” said Missouri Gov. Jeremiah W. “Jay” Nixon at a groundbreaking event held at the airport Sept. 28. “As companies turn more and more to private aircraft and charters to do business, a significantly upgraded Downtown Airport will be perfectly situated to take advantage of an array of exciting economic opportunities, to the benefit of Kansas City and the state of Missouri.”
“Downtown Airport is less than five minutes from the heart of downtown Kansas City, which is in the midst of a major renaissance,” noted Kansas City Aviation Director Mark VanLoh.
When completed, Hangar 10 will include three aircraft hangars totaling 56,000 square feet and a 28,000-square-foot executive aviation terminal with office space, lounges, pilot rest area, overnight rooms, a fitness center, and meeting space.
Executive Beechcraft also operates an FBO at the airport, which it has operated since 1938. It recently completed an extensive refurbishment of its facility, including the pilots’ lounge, conference, and meeting rooms; the main reception and lounge areas got new carpeting, furniture, and countertops.
In August 1927, just months after his historic solo crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, Charles B. Lindbergh landed on a dusty strip of land along a bend in the Missouri River—dedicating what is now one of the nation’s great inner-city airports. Kansas City Downtown Airport has served as home to Howard Hughes’ Trans Western (and later Trans World) Airlines; it was the city’s primary commercial and GA airport until Kansas City International Airport opened in 1972. Since then it has become a major business aviation center because of its proximity to downtown Kansas City, Mo.
– Mike Collins