Southwest Airlines chief executive Gary Kelly celebrated his company’s history in Missouri and weighed in on the future of Kansas City’s airport during a tour through the Show-Me State on Wednesday.
Kelly made stops at Kansas City International airport and Lambert-St. Louis International Airport aboard Missouri One, a new Boeing 737 painted to look like it’s draped in the Missouri flag. Southwest unveiled the aircraft in recognition of the company’s 33 years serving Kansas City and 30 in St. Louis. Today, Southwest has 68 daily departures from KCI and 88 from Lambert.
During his Kansas City stop, Kelly suggested that plans to rebuild or renovate KCI should focus on keeping costs low. He said airline customers are price-sensitive and a spike in ticket prices “absolutely kills traffic.”
Kansas City officials have been working on a plan to upgrade the city’s 1970s-era airport. A city task force has indicated it favors rebuilding KCI as a one-terminal airport. May 2016 is the deadline for a final recommendation.