Sunday, June 28, 2015

Wichita Mid-Continent Airport: going, going, but not quite gone

Some of you saw my sneak peek of the new Wichita Dwight D. Eisenhower National Airport on Tuesday.

As promised, we will now drive by the largest and busiest airport in Kansas.  I'm sure some of you who live in the US are wondering why Kansas City isn't the largest and busiest, instead of Wichita.  The KC airport is located in Missouri, our neighbor to the east.  It serves the entire Kansas City area, including both Missouri and Kansas.  A new street address tells all: 2277 Eisenhower Airport Parkway.
Although it was supposed to open in late March or early April, the new airport didn't open until June 3.  The delays were mostly due, according to the Wichita Eagle, to the Transportation Security Agency setting up its operations and airlines preparing their IT systems.  However, according to documents discovered by
“The contractor is allowed 60 days for final completion after the substantial completion date.”
KSN also uncovered other documents which showed various contracts had not been fulfilled.  The article is well worth reading if you live in Wichita, KS, or in a nearby city.

The parking garage, which can be seen in the reflection of the above photo, has 1200 stalls, including 800 that are enclosed.  There is also a lot with a Park and Ride option that will accommodate at least 3,000 spaces.

Not only is there a new building and covered parking garage, the entire roadway is new, as is the covered curb

which has separate lanes for private and commercial vehicles.
Security is high, and there is a constant police presence, especially for those taking too long to load and unload.
Praised for its "state-of-the-art modern architectural design expressing Wichita's prominent position in the aviation industry," according to Wikipedia, I admit it looks sleek from its exterior.

This rendering of the larger than football length sculpture (according to an article in is made from "dichroic safety glass, stainless steel cables and turnbuckles and cellular polycarbonate."  What struck me was how incredibly unfriendly this rendering looks for anyone who is disabled.

It doesn't look any better now that it's been built.  This image was taken from Fly Wichita's image gallery.  Not exactly disabled friendly!

It appears, from the same article, that the Portland, OR artist, Ed Carpenter received about $500,000 (USD) for creating this sculpture.  This image was also taken from Fly Wichita's image gallery.

In an editorial from, photos show why Wichita is considered the air capital of the world.

I continued snapping photos as we neared the end of the terminal.
Here you can see where the new terminal continues partly behind the old terminal, which is just coming into camera view.

I was so thankful that Wikipedia showed the old terminal as well as the new one as it was being built.

This image is from the article from above.

An overhead view, taken from Fly Wichita shows the new terminal at the back, the old terminal on the lower left, and the new parking structure on the lower right.   The tower is out of view and is located at the end of the old terminal to the lower left.

Here is a closer view of the new and the old terminals as they seem to merge in my camera's viewfinder.

Wikipedia showed how far people had to walk to their concourse after they had been screened.  The long walk was above the cars and it seemed even longer because you were walking uphill to get to your flight.
Since Sally was driving, it was the first time I'd ever been able to take photos of the old airport.  Although I had brought her here and picked her up numerous times, I was never able to stop and take photos.
Although we didn't stop this day, either, as you can see by my camera, which reflected in the mirror, I was able to quickly take a few shots along the way.
More of the old.
Completed in 1953, and dedicated on October 31, 1954, this two runway airport must have seemed quite modern for its day.  At least you know the name of it, something I never saw at the new airport.

This is where I usually picked up Sally
once she arrived home.  Her departure area would have been different depending upon which airline she used.
Sally told me they (the city) were not getting rid of the old control tower, which is in a separate building next to the old airport structure.
However, after an extensive internet search, I could neither confirm nor deny that.  I guess time will tell.  I do know the old building will be razed, except for the basement, which will remain a tornado shelter.

This may not be of interest to many of you, because, to me, this is a very small airport, especially after flying out of places like Chicago, IL O'Hare, Newark, NJ, LAX (Los Angeles), Atlanta, GA, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, LaGuardia (NYC), JFK (NYC), even Kansas City, and others.  But, I hope, if nothing else, you enjoyed my photos of this day.

11 thoughtful remarks:

froebelsternchen Susi said...

Yes I enjoyed your photos E.- an interesting airport!
Thank you for sharing!
Happy new week to you!

Viktoria Berg said...

Very interesting, I enjoyed the tour. Large airports make me very nervous, though, I´m always afraid I´ll get lost, even though there are signs everywhere.

Corrine at said...

I do like all that glass, but find most institutional buildings pretty boring. Too many hands in the pie by committee likely. I love light box effects though. Thanks for sharing. xox

Ayala Art said...

It looks pretty big, compared to our local airport :o)
I wonder if for the disable they have elevators not in the images?
Thanks for the tour!
PS For the verification, I just see a little button to click "I am not a robot" but not the infamous letters and numbers.

Divers and Sundry said...

I did enjoy the photos. I like seeing the differences in design between the new and the old. It must be more friendly to the disabled than it looks. Surely. There certainly are a lot of prominent stairs.

Kirsty Vittetoe said...

Interesting! I remember stopping at Wichita for a night last November when we drove from Vegas to Iowa!

Fran Hopkins said...

As I am not an American it is nice to see some of the more intimate side of the US and if I ever get to fly to Wichita I will know what to expect, thank you x

Nancy said...

Interesting tour- hope they have a moving walkway on the uphill route to the gates! I like the glass and open feel of the facility.

Craftymoose Crafts said...

The new airport is certainly a modern architectural beauty. After flying in and out of large and small airports...I much prefer the smaller ones.

~*~Patty S said...

Your post is very interesting and you got some great shots.
Security is very high at our nearby Dulles Airport. You can only stop long enough to get your passenger in your waiting whatsoever. There is something so exciting about airports. Nice for your area to have a brand spanking new facility.

pearshapedcrafting said...

Love airports - this does look quite big but then our Manchester airport is now spread over 3 buildings - I think they may have run out of space to build now though!! Chrisx