New terminal needed

Though they will take some heat for it, Wichita City Council members made the correct decision in voting Tuesday to proceed with building a new airport terminal.

Some citizens may think that the vote doesn’t make sense, given the economic downturn and the fact that the current terminal seems satisfactory, at least on the surface.

But the 57-year-old facility doesn’t meet current building codes or federal requirements for security or accessibility, and its electrical, heating and cooling systems are obsolete. Also, post-Sept. 11 security changes mean that friends and family have to congregate in a narrow corridor to meet arriving passengers, creating a bottleneck.

Fixing these problems would cost about as much as building the new terminal, according to airport officials. And imagine the hassle and security problems of overhauling the current terminal while it’s still in use.

A new terminal also will be more energy efficient and more functional for the airlines, and it will make a better impression on visitors to Wichita. And because construction costs are down due to the economy, now is the perfect time to build.