Kansas City International Airport was built after the great flood of 1951. The flood destroyed the facilities at both of Kansas City’s local airlines. With Kansas City planning to build an airport with at least 10,000 feet runways the downtown airport would not allow that length. In May of 1953 an area was picked near the unicoroporated area of Hampton, Missouri. The site was actually very close from where the outlaws Bonnie and Clyde got into a 1933 shootout with law officers, which led to the death of Buck Barrow, Clyde’s brother.
The downtown Kansas City airport continued to the the Kansas City’s main airport long after the 1953 decision was made to build a new airport. The first new runway at Kansas City International Airport opend in 1956. In 1963 the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) called Kansas City’s downtown airport “one of the poorest major airports in the United States”. It also recommended against spending any further federal dollars on the Kansas City Downtown airport. The main facilities at the Kansas City International Airport were built in 1972, and the tower was dedicated in October of 1972 by U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew. With the interuptions in construction and labor issues the estimated price of the Kansas City International Airport was $250 Million.
Kansas City International Airport does have a unique design with three terminals in the shape of “C’s”. Each of these terminals has short term parking near each terminal. This makes it possible for passengers to park mere hundreds of feet from their terminal. Long term parking is also available at Kansas City International Airport. Service to and between the terminals can be achieved with red and blue buses moving travelers.
Kansas City International Airport also underwent $258 Million worth of terminal improvements ending in November 2004. These improvements added additional retail space, and bathrooms within the secured areas mandated after 9/11 security was implemented.
In 2017 the Kansas City International Airport served more than 11.5 million passengers and had more than 123,000 air operations.