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Memphis International Airport (MEM) News and Updates

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I think the growth of Memphis International Airport (MEM) deserves its own topic. Let's start with some more good news:

Airport hits record for origin, destination

https://dailymemphian.com/section/business/article/10482/tourists-affordable-fares-pump-up-memphis-airport

Quote

 

Memphis International Airport reported more than 5% growth in passengers in 2019 and a strong start to 2020 with a 7.7% increase in security screenings in January.

Full-year national numbers weren’t available yet, but the Memphis airport appeared to grow slightly faster than the U.S. average.

It was believed to be a record year for passengers who were originating trips in Memphis or whose final destination was Memphis.

Airport officials said arrivals and departures totaled 4.64 million in 2019, a 5.09% increase and the fifth consecutive year of passenger growth. They previously reported flights increased 10.1% and the number of filled seats on those flights were up 9.5%.

 

The airport is undergoing a $245 million modernization of its Concourse B, which is scheduled for completion in mid-2021:

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Animation of the new concourse:

 

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Overall, the renovation looks like it will be great! I don't like the moving walkways being elevated and I have concerns about the ceiling, but will be much higher, which is great

Here are a few updated pics from 2 weeks ago of the B renovation 

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The renovations at the Memphis airport are badly needed. The terminal was old with low ceilings and narrow corridors.  MEM needs to attract more more nonstop destinations and grow the current 81 average flights per day.  MEM had 4.5 million total passengers in 2019.  In contrast BNA had 18.3 million passengers for the same year. . 

The biggest problem MEM now faces is declining cargo traffic.  Last year cargo volume dropped 3.4% largely due to Amazon dropping FedEx for its deliveries.  Rumors have been circulating on Wall Street that Amazon may acquire FedEx. 

Edited by dxfret

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On 2/8/2020 at 11:05 AM, dxfret said:

The renovations at the Memphis airport are badly needed. The terminal was old with low ceilings and narrow corridors.  MEM needs to attract more more nonstop destinations and grow the current 81 average flights per day.  MEM had 4.5 million total passengers in 2019.  In contrast BNA had 18.3 million passengers for the same year. . 

The biggest problem MEM now faces is declining cargo traffic.  Last year cargo volume dropped 3.4% largely due to Amazon dropping FedEx for its deliveries.  Rumors have been circulating on Wall Street that Amazon may acquire FedEx. 

Amazon will never aquire Fed Ex Amazon recently started shipping with Fed Ex again.  They just cut the shipping out during the holidays most likely to see if they had expanded their fleet enough to keep up with demands.

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Contour Airlines seems to be hinting at a Memphis - Indianapolis route based on this graphic released last week when it announced a few new routes

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About all MEM seems to get is hints of new air service routes from small carriers with irregular service. 
Where are the nonstop flights to the important business cities that lack service from MEM?  Like  Raleigh/Durham, Boston, San Francisco, Seattle?

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On 2/8/2020 at 11:05 AM, dxfret said:

The renovations at the Memphis airport are badly needed. The terminal was old with low ceilings and narrow corridors.  MEM needs to attract more more nonstop destinations and grow the current 81 average flights per day.  MEM had 4.5 million total passengers in 2019.  In contrast BNA had 18.3 million passengers for the same year. . 

The biggest problem MEM now faces is declining cargo traffic.  Last year cargo volume dropped 3.4% largely due to Amazon dropping FedEx for its deliveries.  Rumors have been circulating on Wall Street that Amazon may acquire FedEx. 

In 2000, MEM was at 11,769,213 passengers, compared to the 4,644,490 last year.  These numbers, including's Nashville's 18.3 million, include connecting passengers too.  The reason for the Memphis decline was the merging of Northwest with Delta, causing Memphis to get "dehubbed."  Now there's a lot less passengers connecting through Memphis.  Memphis was previously ahead of Nashville, but in 2011, Nashville surpassed Memphis for passenger traffic, and has exploded since.  They are not a hub for Southwest, but Southwest dominates BNA, accounting for 54% of Nashville passengers.  

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Delta is slowly but surely returning big-name routes to MEM. It will begin daily nonstop service between Memphis International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport in October: https://dailymemphian.com/article/11232/memphis-international-airport-boston-nonstop-flight

The airline discontinued the route in early 2014.

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32 minutes ago, VSRJ said:

Delta is slowly but surely returning big-name routes to MEM. It will begin daily nonstop service between Memphis International Airport and Boston Logan International Airport in October: https://dailymemphian.com/article/11232/memphis-international-airport-boston-nonstop-flight

The airline discontinued the route in early 2014.

Granted, it's on a 76-seat aircraft initially. If the demand for the Boston flight grows, a larger plane will be necessary.

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It's been years since I flew through Memphis...back when it was a Northwest hub, I flew through it occasionally getting from Philadelphia to Nashville. I recall it being pretty easy to navigate, but felt extremely claustrophobic and dark. I actually really like what they're doing with the renovation though. Keeping the dark brick will make it look a little different than other airports, but the skylights and raised ceilings will help keep it from being too stifling.

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^ I actually kinda like the brick. I think it will contrast well with the skylights (and natural light). The height will definitely help.

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5 hours ago, dxfret said:

This is a huge improvement.  Now, if the airport could only get some flights!

They've landed (no pun intended) some decent nonstops in the last year: Phoenix, Indianapolis, Boston, Salt Lake City, etc. https://www.flymemphis.com/press-room

Edited by VSRJ
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On 11/19/2020 at 8:33 PM, MDC26 said:

That was a wildcard.

 

Looks like Southwest is ramping up for getting somewhat back to normal in April, going into May.

I hope Delta will still start BOS sometime in 2021. 

 

I have noticed that Allegian is going to fly LAX 6x weekly in June and July along with LAS. Only days off will be Tue. They have FLL back up to 5x in the summer. Allegaint was slated to have that 6x weekly for last summer before the Pandemic, in fact they had Thur and Sun at 2 twice daily.

I am shocked Southwest hasn't started LAS yet with the level of flights Allegiant have planned on doing.  To give an example of what might happen if Southwest did add it. Eight now Allegiant hasn't added any service to AZA after April. I think that has everything to do with Southwest now on PHX. Seems Allegiant has proved FLL and LAS for Southwest. Considering the Caribbean connections Southwest should do well with MEM/FLL

Will Memphis see a Breeze this year?

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Badly needed renovations at MEM.
Now if only this airport could get some decent nonstop passenger flights.  
Otherwise, MEM will remain a ghost town. 

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On 2/9/2021 at 8:20 AM, dxfret said:

Badly needed renovations at MEM.
Now if only this airport could get some decent nonstop passenger flights.  
Otherwise, MEM will remain a ghost town. 

It isn't as dire as you make it out to be. Memphis is still in it's formative state as an origination/destination airport. These 2019 prepandemic numbers show a continued steady growth without the help of any Cook traffic whatsoever.  There are only a handful of logical daily hub flights out there to land.

Memphis got SLC an is still slated to get BOS post pandemic with Delta. All that is potential left on the on the table is Seattle outside of JFK hub wise. I can see Seattle as Delta gets more A220s in the fleet. 

All that you could hope for with United is SFO and IAD but American has good fares straight into DCA. Southwest has it's BWI service as well. The only game hanger here is when IAD is fully connected to DC via the metro.  I think that is still about a year away. 

Speaking of American about all that was left hub wise is LAX and JFK. But they were shifting many TATL to PHL making JFK all that less important. I suspect LAX is still forming once traffic rebounds. Allegiant is planning on flying it 6 days a week this summer like they had for summer 2020 . If they pull that off ithbgood loads I expect American has to see that and commit to it.

Southwest has added PHX to DAL, HOU, MDW, ATL, TPA and MCO. All that is realistically out there in the short term is LAS and possibly FLL. I suppose OAK, SAN and LAX are in the realm of possibility especially if Allegiant is successful with that ambitious LAX schedule that includes zero connecting. That brings me to reason LAS is the next Southwest nonstop. Allegiant had planned 6 days a week service to Vegas last summer. Two of those days actually saw the frequencies. This summer is slated for 6 days a week service. If those flight are full, I suspect Southwest will relent and start it up. They have had PHX and LAS service feom LIT and TUL for years, MEM should be no different. 

 

Outside of those possibilities for the 4 majors, Memphis will have to rely on LCCs for nonstop service.and those will not be everyday until a market has grown to that point. That includes new darts thrown by Frontier, More Allegiant routes and new entries to the market by Spirit, Breeze and another one called Avelo headed up by United and Allegiant alums.  

 

RDU and IND simply isn't going to happen with the disappearance of 50 seaters, there is simply not enough business base to justify them daily until a new, likely electric powered with stupid cheap operating cost 500 to 700 nm range plane comes around.

 

 

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Edited by Wayward Memphian
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