KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Officials with the Kansas City International Airport and Mayor Sly James announced Icelandair is coming to KCI this year.
Icelandair will bring seasonal transatlantic air service to Europe with new nonstop flights between Kansas City and Iceland. Beginning May 26, 2018, Kansas City-region travelers can fly nonstop from KCI to Icelandair's hub at Keflavik International Airport near the Iceland capital, Reykjavik.
“The number one question we get asked is why Kansas City? And the more I think about it, [the question] is why has no one else taken advantage of it?” explained Michael Raucheisen with Icelandair. “This is an amazing location in the heart of the United States with a 3,000,000 person market that has no options to go to Europe directly.”
According to the Kansas City Aviation Department, Icelandair's Kansas City service will offer three nonstop flights per week to Iceland with connections to and from more than 25 destinations in Scandinavia, the UK, and Continental Europe.
The plan is to introduce the flights on a seasonal basis, operating from May to September. KCI said the long-term goal is to offer the flights year-round.
Airport leaders said giving passengers from Kansas City a direct flight to Europe will bring fares down for passengers from Kansas City shopping for flights to Europe.
A few months ago, 41 Action News reported that airport officials traveled out of the country to speak with an international airline, trying to bring them to Kansas City.
KCI officials and city leaders touted the fact that more airlines are using smaller planes for flights and pitched that Kansas City could be the new home for an airline.
Kansas City Mayor Sly James said the flight will connect businesses with markets across the ocean.
“The more our businesses are able to do business outside of Kansas City, the better off the people inside Kansas City are because that means the businesses are stable, they're making revenue, they're able to hire,” James explained.
At a press conference making the announcement, James hammered home the importance of having international flights at KCI.
“It's just as important to have international travel as it is to be able to get from Johnson County to downtown,” James said.
This announcement comes at a time when all eyes are on the KCI.
Tuesday afternoon, the KC City Council will restart talks with Edgemoor, the company that won the bid to build a new single terminal at KCI.
Icelandair said the new terminal was only a small factor in its decision to expand to KCI.
City Council will begin discussing Edgemoor at 1:30 p.m.