The state of Kansas is looking into building a second airport in the Kansas City metro area that would compete with Kansas International Airport (MCI) in Missouri.
"Airlines are requesting construction of a new, single-terminal airport at MCI, and the state of Kansas is continually looking for new economic development opportunities," Kansas governor Sam Brownback said in a prepared statement emailed to Travel Weekly Tuesday. "With more than 50% of MCI passengers coming from Kansas, we are exploring the possibilities of this project."
The move comes as the city of Kansas City, Mo., has been unable to move forward with a proposed airport rebuild because the project is unpopular with the public.
The Kansas City airport is divided into three terminals. Last April, Kansas City, Mo., unveiled a master plan for a $975 million, single-terminal facility that would largely be financed by an increase of $2.10 in per-passenger fees paid by the airlines.
The carriers have pushed for the redevelopment, saying that the existing facility creates operational difficulties.
But the existing airport is popular with local customers. Each terminal has its own parking garage, making it convenient for passengers.
Last May, Kansas City, Mo., mayor Sly James called off the project, saying that voters wouldn't support it, the Kansas City Star reported at the time.
Now Kansas might bet that carriers will support a project across the nearby state line.
"There is clearly potential for a modern terminal with lower enplanement costs and increased efficiencies for airlines with minimal taxpayer funding," Kansas Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer said in a second prepared statement Tuesday. "An airport of this nature has the ability to generate enormous economic impact for the state, and we owe it to Kansans to explore the feasibility of this project."
MCI serviced 11 million passengers in 2016, the airport reported last month.