Modernization Hub

Modernization and Improvement
Memphis International Airport

Memphis International Airport

Memphis International Airport is a
civil-military airport seven miles southeast of downtown Memphis, in Shelby
County, Tennessee. Memphis International Airport is home to
the FedEx Express global hub, which processes many of the company’s
packages. Nonstop FedEx destinations from Memphis include cities across the
continental U.S., Europe, Middle East, Asia and South America. From 1993 to
2009 Memphis had the largest cargo operations of any airport worldwide. MEM
dropped into second position in 2010, behind Hong Kong; however, it remained
the busiest cargo airport in the United States.
As of 2014, Memphis International Airport had a passenger count of 3.57
million, which is a steep 22% decline from the 2013 year. Delta Air Lines
dropped Memphis as a hub airport after continually reducing flights following
its 2008 merger with Northwest Airlines. As of July 2014 MEM averaged 83 total
passenger flights per day on all of the airlines serving the city. The airport
has since added several airlines, including Southwest and Allegiant, which
has increased competition among the carriers. Since Delta’s departure as a
hub operation, average round trip prices have declined significantly. The
July–September 2014 quarter alone saw a 4.7% decline from the quarter a year
earlier. History
Memphis Municipal Airport opened on a 200-acre plot of farmland just over
seven miles from downtown Memphis. During its early years the airport had
three hangars and an unpaved runway; passenger and air mail service was
provided by American Airlines and Chicago and Southern Air Lines. In 1939
Eastern Air Lines arrived; that March Eastern had one departure a day to
Muscle Shoals and beyond, American had four east/west and C&S had four
north/south. During World War II the United States
Army Air Forces Air Transport Command 4th Ferrying Group used Memphis while
sending new aircraft overseas. In April 1951 the runways were 6000-ft 2/20,
6530-ft 9/27, 4370-ft 14/32 and 4950-ft 17/35
The April 1957 OAG shows 64 weekday departures: 25 on Delta, 18 American, 7
Southern, 5 Eastern, 4 Braniff, 3 Trans-Texas and 2 Capital. American
DC-6s flew nonstop to Washington and New York, but westward nonstops didn’t reach
beyond Ft Worth and Kansas City until American started Los Angeles in 1964.
The first scheduled jets were Delta 880s ORD-MEM-MSY and back, starting in
July–August 1960. The current terminal was designed by
Mann & Harrover and cost $6.5 million. It opened on June 7, 1963 and Memphis
Municipal changed its name to Memphis International in 1969, but the airport
had no non-stop international flights until 1985–86 when Republic Airlines
began flights to Mexico. The terminal was expanded for $31.6 million in 1974,
adding two new concourses and extending the others, which were designed by Roy
P. Harrover & Associates. The airport had no non-stop inter-continental
flights until 1995 when KLM began service to Amsterdam. Flights to
Amsterdam ended on September 3, 2012, part of Delta’s cutbacks in Memphis,
this leaves Cancun, Mexico and Freeport, Bahamas as the only scheduled
international flights from Memphis, operated seasonally by Delta and
Aeromexico/Bahamasair on behalf of Vacation Express.
Southern Airways was an important regional carrier at Memphis in the
1960s; it merged into Republic Airlines in 1979 as the first large merger after
the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act. With the dismantling of the Civil
Aeronautics Board flight approval requirements, airlines began developing
around a large hub model as opposed to the former point-to-point networks that
were common before deregulation. Republic established Memphis as a hub
operation in 1985 before merging into Northwest Airlines in 1986. In 2008
Delta Air Lines bought Northwest. Federal Express began operations in
Memphis in 1973. It opened its current “SuperHub” facility on the north side of
the airport in 1981. In 2008 the airport began expanding its
control tower and parking garages. The new tower cost $72.6 million and is 336
feet tall, more than double the old tower height. An $81 million, 7-story
parking garage replaced two surface lots adding 6,500 parking spaces. $11 million
was spent on a covered moving walkway between the garages and the terminal.
Since 2009 the airport has been a small hub for small regional airline SeaPort
Airlines, which has single-engine flights to communities in Arkansas
through the Essential Air Service program. SeaPort Airlines is based at
the private aviation terminal, not the main passenger terminal.
In 2014, the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority announced a planned
$114 million renovation of the airport. This renovation will include demolishing
the largely-vacant south ends of concourses A and C, which will allow
aircraft to more easily access the larger B concourse. The remainder of the
A and C concourses will remain and be ready to use for any potential growth in
the future. In addition, the plan calls for the widening and modernization of
the B concourse, which most flights will be directed to when the renovation is
complete. The renovation, expected to start in late 2015 and end around 2020,
will leave the airport with about 60 gates.
Operations Memphis International Airport is
governed by the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority. Board of
directors consist of five members appointed by the Memphis mayor and two
members nominated by the Shelby County mayor. All board members are confirmed
by the Memphis City Council. Facilities and aircraft
Memphis International Airport covers 3,900 acres and has four paved runways:
18C/36C: 11,120 ft × 150 ft Concrete 18L/36R: 9,000 ft × 150 ft Concrete
18R/36L: 9,320 ft × 150 ft Concrete 9/27: 8,946 ft × 150 ft Concrete.
Runway 9/27 reopened for traffic on November 30, 2009 after nine months of
resurfacing. The new runway has a more durable concrete surface, and opened in
time for the peak of the FedEx shipping season.
For the 12-month period ending May 31, 2014 the airport had 225,592 aircraft
operations, an average of 618 per day: 71% scheduled commercial, 18% air taxi,
10% general aviation, and 1% military. At that time there were 93 aircraft
based at this airport: 48% jet, 15% multi-engine, 17% single-engine, 10%
military, and 10% helicopter. The Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center
is on the airport grounds at 3229 Democrat Road, TN 38118.
Terminals Terminal A contains 6 gates: A21, A25,
A27, A29, A31 and A33. Terminal A is used currently by Southwest Airlines,
Allegiant Air, and OneJet. Terminal B contains 42 gates: B1-B20,
B22-B43. Terminal B serves all international arrivals and requires
travelers to pass through a TSA security checkpoint after clearing customs. This
is required because the customs hall exits into the concourse instead of the
main lobby. Delta operates a Delta Sky Club lounge in Terminal B. Delta Air
Lines is the sole occupant of Terminal B, seasonally, the terminal is used by
international charters which operate out of the airport’s international gates B42
and B43. Terminal C contains 18 gates: C1-C5,
C7-C11, C12A/C12B, C14A/C14B, C16, C18, C20 and C22. Terminal C is currently
only used by American, Frontier, SeaPort Airlines, United and US Airways.
Airlines and destinations =Scheduled passenger=
Notes ^1 All airlines and concessions will
relocate to Concourse B in 2015 ^2 The airport is currently undergoing a
massive $114 million consolidation/renovation that will last
until 2020. ^4 OneJet plans to add flights to
Pittsburgh from Memphis sometime in the near future.
^5 All US Airways flights will be rebranded as American Airlines effective
October 17, 2015. ^6 All US Airways Express flights will
be rebranded as American Eagle flights effective October 17, 2015.
Statistics =Top domestic destinations=
=Annual traffic=Military
The 164th Airlift Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard is based at the
co-located Memphis Air National Guard Base, operating C-17 Globemaster III
transport aircraft. Accidents and incidents
On August 11, 1984, Douglas C-47 N70003 of Aviation Enterprises crashed shortly
after take-off from Memphis International Airport on a domestic
non-scheduled passenger flight to O’Hare International Airport, Chicago. All
three people on board died. A missing spark plug on the port engine caused a
loss of power. Maintenance involving the removal of the spark plugs had been
performed the previous day. On April 7, 1994, FedEx Flight 705
experienced an attempted hijacking shortly after takeoff. FedEx employee
Auburn Calloway tried to hijack the plane in order to crash it into the
FedEx hub at Memphis International, in a Kamikaze-style attack. The crew fought
him off and returned to Memphis. On December 18, 2003, FedEx Express
Flight 647 veered off the runway after the landing gear collapsed upon landing
from Oakland International Airport. The aircraft was immediately engulfed in
flames. All 5 crew members escaped by exiting via the cockpit window.
On July 28, 2006, FedEx Flight 630’s landing gear collapsed upon landing at
Memphis International Airport after a flight from Seattle-Tacoma International
Airport. After coming to a stop, the plane caught fire, engulfing the left
wing and engine. While the three crew members sustained injuries, they all
survived. The aircraft was written off. References
Further reading Hollahan, Terry. “Delta Air Lines deals
crushing blow to Memphis airport.” Memphis Business Journal. June 4, 2013.
External links Media related to Memphis International
Airport at Wikimedia Commons Memphis International Airport
FAA Airport Diagram, effective September 17, 2015
Resources for this airport: AirNav airport information for KMEM
ASN accident history for MEM FlightAware airport information and live
flight tracker NOAA/NWS latest weather observations
SkyVector aeronautical chart for KMEM FAA current MEM delay information

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