From its position in the middle of the United States, it’s little wonder that transportation is such an important asset to the Wichita economy.
Mid-Continent Airport is home base to more than 60 aviation-related companies. The region’s major highway – Interstate 35 – is the prime route for transports of goods between the U.S., Mexico and Canada, and three of the nation’s major rail carriers move goods in and out of Wichita daily.
Mid-Continent Airport Takes Flight
Business and leisure travelers from across Wichita, South Central and Western Kansas and North Central Oklahoma enjoy the excellent amenities of Mid-Continent Airport, where a major expansion is right around the corner. Mid-Continent is the largest commercial airport in Kansas and was recognized as one of the fastest-growing airports in the nation in 2007.
Eleven passenger-air carriers operate out of Mid-Continent, offering nonstop service to nine major destinations. The airport served more than 1.5 million passengers in 2010. In August 2011, Frontier Airlines began using larger planes on its flights between Wichita and Denver, which is Frontier’s hub location.
To meet the needs of passengers, Mid-Continent has announced plans for a new passenger terminal. Construction is expected to start in 2012 on the 12-gate, 265,000-square-foot terminal, with completion in 2015. The proposed energy-efficient terminal, which has already been recognized as an award-winning design concept, will have expanded security and baggage-handling facilities and feature shorter distances to the concourses. A new parking garage is also planned.
Mid-Continent is also a general-aviation airport with two fixed-base operators. The airport’s aerospace industrial complex has more than 60 aviation-related enterprises such as Cessna, Bombardier Learjet, Garmin, Rockwell Collins and Honeywell, and has more than 800 acres of land available for development. Air-cargo carriers serving Wichita include UPS, UPS Supply Chain Solutions, DHL and FedEx.
“We look forward to improved services for our customers when the new terminal and parking garage are completed," says Valerie Wise, air service and business development manager for the Wichita Airport Authority. "We believe these new facilities will attract more conventions to the area."
The airport provides convenient and affordable air service to a majority of Kansans and is a major economic driver for the state, Wise says. "With over 400 one-stop destinations, you can see the world from Wichita,” she says.
Supplementing the needs of Mid-Continent is Col. James Jabara Airport, a general-aviation reliever airport located northeast of Wichita's central business district. Jabara has more than 200 acres available for development.
Trade Zone, Highway Make Wichita Hot Spot
Wichita is home to the Sedgwick County Foreign Trade Zone, an area where foreign goods bound for international destinations can be temporarily stored without incurring an import duty. Wichita lies on Interstate 35, the only interstate highway that connects the United States with both Canada and Mexico.
I-35 runs through the center of Wichita, connecting with major east-west interstates I-70 and I-40. The city is served by 16 national and regional interstate common carriers. Three major railroads – Union Pacific, Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Kansas & Oklahoma Railroad – link the city to most major continental markets. Wichita has access to the U.S. Inland Waterway System from two ports located within 200 miles: The Port of Kansas City and the Tulsa Port of Catoosa provide access to the Missouri and Arkansas rivers, respectively.