(Memphis) The Memphis airport is reinventing itself, and those who run it say that means making a lot of improvements.
Memphis International Airport leaders are planning to spend $114 million to renovate the airport and make it more relevant to those currently using it.
Now that the airport is no longer a hub, planners say operations and design of the facility need to reflect that change.
“We have begun the process of reinventing the Memphis Airport,” said Scott Brockman, MSCAA President and CEO. “Part of that reinvention involves consolidating operations so we can better serve our passengers, airlines, concessionaires, and employees. More importantly, we’re going to modernize the B Concourse, giving our passengers more room to move, better lighting and more convenience.”
An animation shows what the airport authority wants the airport to look like by 2020. There's one main terminal, moving walkways, less empty space, and more natural light.
"If we can do that, it will create more activity, better for our concessionaires. It will help us recruit more airlines more flights," said Jack Sammons, Memphis Airport Authority chair.
They are actively recruiting other airlines, but this project is more about efficiency.
"You've got to prune the rose bushes occasionally to get the true bloom on the flower and I think what we're doing is enhancing this most important asset," said Sammons.
For years, Delta Airline hogged the main terminal getting the lion's share of concessions.
Now all airlines will move to Terminal B.
Parts of Terminals A and C will be torn down.
"They realize that the model here in Memphis is changing. They are going to play a bigger part on an airline by airline basis. Delta is no longer will be the delivery model," said Scott Brockman, Memphis Airport Authority president.
But some passengers WREG talked to have questions about tearing down parts of the airport.
Nancy Pruett said, "What happens if you get traffic back up again? What are you going to do?"
The gates at Terminal A and C will be mothballed but will be around for any possible expansion.
However, they doubt they'll ever need all that space again because most airlines are reducing hubs.
The renovation begins later this year and will take five to six years to complete.
Demolition and construction will begin soon and airlines and other operations will move in 2015.
Airport officials say the facility currently only needs 22 gates to operate, but there will be a total of 60 for future growth.
Follow the airport on Twitter @flymemphis
Consolidation of Airlines/Concessions into the B Concourse from airport news release:
- Airline flight operations will be consolidated into the B concourse.
- Currently, Delta Air Lines operates out of the B Concourse. Southwest Airlines operates out of the A Concourse, while American Airlines/ US Airways and United Airlines operate out of the C Concourse. Frontier Airlines will also operate out of the C Concourse until the consolidation.
- Ticketing/check-in will continue in A, B and C.
- Baggage claim for all airlines will be consolidated into the B area, though the A and C baggage areas will still be open for passenger entrance and exit.
- Security screening will primarily be consolidated to B, though a second security checkpoint at C will also be available for periods of heavy traffic.
- Gates on the A and C Concourses will be closed but retained for future use.
- About 60 gates will remain available to address future growth.
- Concessions in the A and C Concourses will be moved to B, giving them greater exposure to concentrated numbers of passengers.