Memphis International Airport
Memphis International Airport
2013 USGS aerial photo
|Owner/Operator||Memphis–Shelby County Airport Authority|
|Location||Shelby County, Tennessee, U.S.|
|Elevation AMSL||341 ft / 104 m|
Sources: Memphis international airport annual report 2018
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 United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America. From 1993 to 2009, Memphis had the largest cargo operations of any airport worldwide. MEM dropped to the second position in 2010, just behind Hong Kong; however, it remains the busiest cargo airport in the United States and in the Western Hemisphere.
On the passenger side, MEM averages over 80 passenger flights per day on all of the airlines serving the city. 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.
Memphis Municipal Airport, dedicated in 1929, opened on a 200-acre (81 ha) plot of farmland just over seven miles (11 km) from downtown Memphis. In 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 (acquired by Delta Air Lines in 1953). 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 airport was all north of Winchester Rd during the 1950s)
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 & planover and cost $6.5 million. It opened on June 7, 1963 and Memphis Municipal changed its name to Memphis International in 1969. In 1985–86 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.
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 (CAB) 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. Northwest operated around 300 daily flights at the peak of the hub, including international flights to Canada, Mexico, the Caribbean as well as a transatlantic flight to Amsterdam (initially operated by KLM).
Federal Express (now FedEx Express) began operations in Memphis in 1973. It opened its current "SuperHub" facility on the north side of the airport in 1981, and maintains a large presence to the present day.
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.
After the acquisition of Northwest by Delta Air Lines (with its own southeastern hub at Atlanta) in 2008, flights were scaled back until Delta closed the hub in 2013. Passenger traffic in Memphis declined from 11 million in 2007 to 4 million in 2017.
In 2014 the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority announced a planned $114 million renovation of the airport. This renovation included demolishing the largely-vacant south ends of concourses A and C, which would allow aircraft to more easily access the larger B concourse. The remainder of the A and C concourses would remain and be ready to use for any potential growth in the future. In addition, the plan called for the widening and modernization of the B concourse, which most flights would be directed to when the renovation was complete. The renovation, which was expected to start in late 2015 and end around 2020, would leave the airport with about 60 gates.
The initial project was only partially completed, with the south end of the A concourse demolished. Memphis officials decided to rethink the modernization plans. Several aspects of the project changed. The first plan called for renovating and widening Concourse B, the updated plan includes a full redesign of most of the concourse. The B Concourse will be closed during construction, and airlines and tenants will move to the A and C Concourses during that time. The south end of the C Concourse will remain intact until the B Concourse is completed and airlines have moved from C to B. The southwest leg of the B Concourse will be updated in a future phase, and will only be utilized in the near term for passengers from inbound international flights.
On April 4, 2018 Delta Air Lines and Allegiant Air moved to the A and C concourses respectively. Construction on the improvements and modifications to the B concourse began in September 2018.
Air Canada resumed daily non-stop service to Toronto in May 2017.
Memphis International Airport contains one terminal and three concourses. In 2021, all flights will consolidate to Concourse B and A and C will be mothballed.
Concourse A has 9 gates.
Concourse B has 42 gates. Delta Air Lines operates a Sky Club lounge outside Concourse B. The concourse contains the airports U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility, which is used on a limited basis for charter flights.
Concourse C has 18 gates.
|Runway||Length (ft)||Length (m)||Width (ft)||Width (m)||Notes|
Airlines and destinationsEdit
|1||Delta Air Lines||1,093,000||25.40%|
|2||Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas||216,390||American|
|3||Charlotte, North Carolina||188,060||American|
|4||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||142,260||American, United|
|6||Denver, Colorado||85,290||Frontier, Southwest, United|
|7||Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota||75,610||Delta|
|8||Orlando, Florida||70,950||Delta, Frontier, Southwest|
Accidents and incidentsEdit
- 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, Federal Express Flight 705 bound for San Jose, CA 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 - although seriously injured - fought him off and returned to Memphis, where police and emergency crews subdued him.
- On December 18, 2003, FedEx Express Flight 647 veered off the runway after the landing gear collapsed upon landing from Oakland International Airport (OAK). 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.
- Fontaine, Tom. "Pittsburgh adding flights to regional airports". TribLIVE.com.
- TN: Memphis International&carrier=FACTS Memphis 2015 passenger count, Memphis International Airport
-  Archived November 29, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
- "Global Airport Cities 2013 – Welcome". Globalairportcities.com. August 11, 2013. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
- "MEM March passengers drive 9.1% traffic increase". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
- "164th Airlift Wing".
- "All sizes - Memphis 1956_0008 - Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr.
- Clute, Eugene; Fenimore, Russell; Reid, Kenneth (1973). Progressive Architecture. 54. Reinhold Publishing Corporation. p. 46. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
- "Memphis Airport history". Mscaa.com. June 14, 1929. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
- Moseley, Jace. "The Death and Rebirth of Memphis (MEM) and Cincinnati (CVG)". Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Andy Ashby (November 7, 2011). "Memphis airport unveils new tower, third tallest in U.S." Memphis Business Journal.
- Trey Heath (April 27, 2008). "Airport begins $81 million construction project". Memphis Business Journal.
- Mutzabaugh, Ben. "Delta to pull plug on Memphis hub after Labor Day". USA Today. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
- Blinder, Alan (May 23, 2018). "The Trouble With the Memphis Airport: No Crowds". The New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2018.
- Phillips, Bianca (February 20, 2014). "Memphis International Airport To Downsize Concourses". Memphis Flyer.
- "Modernization Images". Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- Phillips, Jerica. "Construction begins on $214M airport renovations". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- Risher, Wayne (December 7, 2016). "Air Canada Returning Toronto Nonstop to MEM May 1". The Commercial Appeal. Memphis. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "Memphis airport readies for $214 million, three-year overhaul of B Concourse". Retrieved May 1, 2019.
- FAA Airport Master Record for MEM ( PDF), effective October 25, 2007
- "Flight Schedules". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Route Map". Allegiant Travel Company. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- "Flight schedules and notifications". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "FLIGHT SCHEDULES". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Frontier". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Destinations". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Check Flight Schedules". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Timetable". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
- "Destinations Served". DHL Aviation Cargo. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- Risher, Wayne. "FedEx announces $1 billion expansion of Memphis hub". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- Nichols, Meagan. "New FedEx route connects China to Memphis". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- "UPS Air Cargo: Airports". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
- "Memphis International Airport (MEM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "Statistics". Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Archived from the original on November 29, 2012. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
- "2016 Comprehensive Report" (PDF).
- "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
- "NTSB Identification: ATL84FA251". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
- Hollahan, Terry. "Delta Air Lines deals crushing blow to Memphis airport." Memphis Business Journal. June 4, 2013.
|Aircraft photos from Memphis International (MEM) at airliners.net|
|FedEx Jets @ MEM Photo|
- Media related to Memphis International Airport at Wikimedia Commons
- Memphis International Airport (official site)
- (PDF), effective May 23, 2019
- Resources for this airport: