KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — The show must go on.
Kansas City International (KCI) Airport has no plans to close due to the predicted winter storm, and keeping runways clear while ensuring passenger safety is paramount.
Foot traffic at KCI is feeling the holiday crush. 34,000 travelers per day are expected to fly the friendly skies as late December demand meets the forthcoming weather event.
Joe McBride, Kansas City Aviation spokesperson, said it takes airport work crews 45 minutes to clear one of the airport’s three two-mile runways.
Airport workers have a system of closing one runway while using the other two without missing a beat. McBride said snowplows are used along with blowers and broom trucks, but traditional rock salt won’t work at airports since it has a corrosive effect on airplane bodies. Instead, the airport uses spray solvents and fine sand.
“It’s a fight, if you will, to keep Mother Nature at bay, but our folks take it very seriously, and they’re dedicated and work long hours to clear the snow and keep people safe,” McBride said on Wednesday.
McBride doesn’t foresee flights being canceled, but he points out that airlines are in charge of that. KCI administrators rarely cancel flights. Hordes of passengers keep coming to the gates, and winter weather is on their minds, along with the rigors of crowded airports.
“It’s twice as hard, and it’s kind of scary to me. I think it is. Knowing what to pack and how much to pack. Not knowing if you’re going to get stranded,” Debra Pugh, a traveler from Junction City, Kansas, said.
“I’ve packed my big coat and lots of sweaters, hats and gloves,” said Sabrina Szostak, a traveler from Colorado, while taking inventory of her crowded baggage.
The 488,000 passengers KCI expects during this holiday season put the airport back to pre-pandemic levels of service. McBride reminds passengers to check KCI’s website for arrival and departure times — which will also reflect weather-related delays.