Airport To Spend $114 Million On Renovation

(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.

14 comments

  • nick gerz

    how about getting some airlines that make it cheaper to fly out of here than it is to drive to little rock or nashville and use long-term parking than it is to stay here

    • Kirk Bready

      The two best companies in commercial aviation are FedEx and Southwest Airlines. If they were to merge, they could turn the Memphis Airport operations into a world-class standard for the industry and force the incompetents to shape up or get out of the way.

  • Kirk Bready

    Over the years, it cost a bunch to expand the airport. Now it will cost a bunch to shrink it. That’s the benefit of the corporate and government collusion that generates some very juicy contracts.

    • bb

      Actually, Detroit does have a nice relatively new terminal and good parking. It is a hub airport though – with a lot of traffic. And it really isn’t in Detroit – it is West of Detroit by about a half an hour.

  • Katie

    More tax payers dollars wasted. No news here. How about just doing more Pass It On stories. That’s about the only thing this news station reports and gets correct.

  • John John

    I know what, why don’t you investigate who’s getting the contracts and see if there are kickbacks. Looks like to me the pirates are plundering what’s left of the city before she slips beneath the waves.

  • marilyn

    Memphis Int’l Airport and not one direct Int’l flight……This is a waste of money and fraud…..Delta cut flights…..American and US Air have merged……Tons of unused gates…..and Memphis city leaders justify this improvement….No real industry in Memphis….So no real business travel….This is so unnecessary….

  • Lee Adams

    It seems to me that when you spend other people’s money you should get other people’s opinions. Too many public use decisions are being made behind closed doors. It would have been nice if the Airport Authority had asked the taxpaying public if they had any suggestions for improving the underutilized space. There are some who have experiences outside of the city and county and bring a wealth of knowledge and information to this city. Is there not a better way to spend $114 million dollars? If this is city and county money, perhaps some should be rebated to local government. How much more does the authority have in reserve? Have all possibilities for he use of the space been exhausted such as military use. There are some in the general public who really think that haste makes waste. A little more creative thinking needs to be the order of the day.

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