Memphis airport fires back after critical New York Times article

Memphis International Airport

 

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A recent New York Times article critical of Memphis International Airport had its leaders firing back Thursday.

The May 28 article, headlined “The trouble with Memphis airport: No crowds,” describes how a spacious terminal building was built for an air travel hub which has become a half-deserted white elephant.

Pace Cooper, chairman of the Airport Authority board, said the article doesn’t paint a true picture.

“If the article had gone on to describe the rebuilding, we wouldn’t have had to push back to say we didn’t agree with the article,” Cooper told WREG. “We have had 27 flight announcements since then, we had fares drop by $180 per trip. These are incredible progressive steps by the airport.”

Cooper admits there is more that can be done to fully bring the airport back to life, but he believes Memphis can do it much like other cities that lost their hub status.

“Memphis, in the 2012-2013 de-hubbing with Delta, suffered a blow, which is very similar to other cities like Nashville, Pittsburg and cities out west that were hubs but lost their carriers. But we have now come back as a more diversified, broad-based collective of carriers that service the market with good direct service.”

He also said that at night and because of FedEx, Memphis International is the busiest airport in America.

Wednesday, Allegiant airlines announced new flights from Memphis to Oakland, California.

Thursday, The New York Times published a letter to the editor from airport president and chief executive Scott Brockman, rebutting the article. It read:

We at the Memphis International Airport do not share your negativity. We do not shy away from the challenges that the loss of the Delta hub created. But we also have many reasons for optimism.

Since the loss of the Delta hub, the airport has added Air Canada, Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest and Vacation Express to its fleet of airlines. These and our existing airlines have combined to announce 27 new routes.

We’ve continued to chart a path that’s characterized by origin and destination passenger growth, falling average fares and passenger-centric amenities to maximize the travel experience.