Memphis International Airport
2013 USGS aerial photo
|Owner/Operator||MemphisShelby 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.
In 2016 MEM had over 4 million passengers, up slightly from 2015. The airport was previously a hub for Northwest Airlines and later Delta Air Lines. As of June 2017, MEM averaged 83 passenger flights per day on all of the airlines serving the city. In recent years the airport added several airlines, including Air Canada, Allegiant Air, Frontier Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. Since Delta's departure as a hub operation, average round trip prices have declined. The JulySeptember 2014 quarter saw a 4.7% decline from the quarter a year earlier.
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 JulyAugust 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 198586 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.
Concourse B has 42 gates. Delta Air Lines has a Delta Sky Club lounge outside Concourse B, in the walkway connecting to Concourse C. Seasonally, the terminal is used by international charters which operate out of the airport's international gates B42-43. International travelers 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. In 2018, regular flights moved from Concourse B to allow renovation of the concourse. International arrivals still uses gates B41-B43 on a limited basis. By mid-2021, when the renovation is finished, all flights will be scheduled from Concourse B.
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 February 28, 2018 the airport had 223,868 aircraft operations, an average of 613 per day: 83% airline, 7% air taxi, 9% general aviation, and <1% military. At that time there were 83 aircraft based at this airport: 65% jet, 8% multi-engine, 17% single-engine, and 10% military The Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) is on the airport grounds at 3229 Democrat Road, TN 38118.
|Air Canada Express||TorontoPearson|||
|Allegiant Air|| Austin, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater|
Seasonal: Fort Walton Beach, Oakland, Phoenix/Mesa
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth|||
|American Eagle||Charlotte, ChicagoO'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, New YorkLaGuardia, Philadelphia, PhoenixSky Harbor, WashingtonNational|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul|||
|Delta Connection|| Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New YorkLaGuardia|
|Frontier Airlines|| Denver, Las Vegas|
Seasonal: Orlando, Philadelphia
|Southern Airways Express||AtlantaPeachtree, Destin, Harrison (AR), Jackson (MS), Nashville|||
|Southwest Airlines||Baltimore, ChicagoMidway, DallasLove, Denver, HoustonHobby, Orlando, Tampa|||
|United Airlines|| ChicagoO'Hare, HoustonIntercontinental|
Seasonal: Denver, Newark
|United Express||ChicagoO'Hare, Denver, HoustonIntercontinental, Newark|||
|Vacation Express||Seasonal Charter: Cancún|||
|ViaAir||Austin, Pittsburgh (both begin June 25, 2019)|||
|DHL Aviation||Cincinnati, Nashville, New Orleans|||
|FedEx Express||Aguadilla, Albany (NY), Albuquerque, Allentown, Anchorage, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Birmingham (AL), Bogotá, Boise, Boston, Buffalo, Burbank, Calgary, Campinas/Viracopos, Casper, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chattanooga, ChicagoO'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cologne/Bonn, Colorado Springs, Columbia (SC), ColumbusRickenbacker, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dubai, Edmonton, El Paso, Fargo, Flint, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Wayne, Fort Worth/Alliance, Fresno, Grand Rapids, Great Falls, Greensboro, Greenville/Spartanburg, Guadalajara, Harlingen, Grand Junction, Harrisburg, Hartford, Honolulu, HoustonIntercontinental, Huntington (WV), Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Knoxville, Lafayette, Laredo, Las Vegas, LondonStansted, Liège, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Louisville, Lubbock, Madison, Manchester (NH), Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MobileDowntown, Monterrey, MontréalMirabel, Nashville, New Orleans, New YorkJFK, Newark, Newburgh, Norfolk, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, OsakaKansai, Ottawa, ParisCharles de Gaulle, Peoria, Philadelphia, PhoenixSky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Providence, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester (MN), Rochester (NY), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Jose (CR), San Juan, Savannah, Seattle/Tacoma, SeoulIncheon, ShanghaiPudong, Shreveport, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Spokane, Springfield (MO), St. Louis, Syracuse, Tallahassee, Tampa, Tijuana, TokyoNarita, Toluca/Mexico City, TorontoPearson, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, WashingtonDulles, West Palm Beach, Wichita, Winnipeg|||
|FedEx Feeder||Atlanta, Charleston, Charleston (WV), Dothan, Huntsville, Evansville, Monroe, Tallahassee, Tulsa|
|UPS Airlines||Louisville, Miami|||
|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||ChicagoO'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|
|Aircraft photos from Memphis International (MEM) at airliners.net|
|FedEx Jets @ MEM Photo|