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northernbizzkit1

Memphis International Airport

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The one thing I don't understand is how people can say they want to see Memphis lose its hub status so some cheap airlines can move into town and run down the airport facilities even more. The recent airport terminals would not be possible without the help of Northwest. Memphis' hub brings large amounts of money into the city that Southwest is unable to bring. So what if a hand full of travlers decide to drive down I40 for Nashville or Little Rock's cheaper fares, we have a direct flight on an A330 via Amsterdam that most cities are size or even bigger can't even dream about (also possible service to Tokoyo on new 787). I promise you Nashville would trade being a focus city for Southwest if they could have our Northwest hub. Our hub not only gives us access to many more direct flights, but It brings people throughout the country/world to our airport on connecting flights that have to spend money in the airport or even area hotels.

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The one thing I don't understand is how people can say they want to see Memphis lose its hub status so some cheap airlines can move into town and run down the airport facilities even more. The recent airport terminals would not be possible without the help of Northwest. Memphis' hub brings large amounts of money into the city that Southwest is unable to bring. So what if a hand full of travlers decide to drive down I40 for Nashville or Little Rock's cheaper fares, we have a direct flight on an A330 via Amsterdam that most cities are size or even bigger can't even dream about (also possible service to Tokoyo on new 787). I promise you Nashville would trade being a focus city for Southwest if they could have our Northwest hub. Our hub not only gives us access to many more direct flights, but It brings people throughout the country/world to our airport on connecting flights that have to spend money in the airport or even area hotels.

Here is my view of the airport/airline dilemma Memphis now faces. I fly for UA, live near Clarksville, and commute to IAD, ORD or DEN for my trips. I used to fly for FedEx, so I'm quite familiar with MEM, both past and present. The merger of Delta/Northwest is imminent....and I expect United/Continental to follow soon after.

Without a doubt, the MEM operation will be dramatically down-sized right away by a merged Delta/NWA. MEM simply does not have the o&d passenger traffic, and that's the critical thing....the regional population simply is not large enough.

Today NWA at MEM is mostly regional jets serving smaller cities; there are not even enough banks of flights to properly be called a major hub. In reality, hubs are not the important trend in commercial aviation they were decades ago. Point to point, non-stop flying is preferred by pasengers and it makes sense. There will still be hubs at select large cities only. In the case of a merged DL/NW that will be Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, Salt Lake City, JFK and LAX. Not Memphis, not Cincinnati.

I don't know what is meant by stating "a cheap carrier would run down the airport facilities even more." Low cost carriers pay fees to use airport facilities just like everyone else. I take issue with the statement "Memphis' hub brings large amounts of money into the city that Southwest is unable to bring." Simply not so.

Southwest is the envy of all US airlines today, and has been for many years. They are the only airline to consistently make a profit and they run an excellent operation, far more advanced than my employer. I only wish I could get on with SW, they pay better for many positions than do most US legacy carriers.

Southwest runs quite a large operation from Nashville flying frequent non-stops to practically anywhere important in the US. Passengers love the low fares, and the frequent non-stop service. Southwest really took over BNA after American closed its hub there and has been a key player in the booming economy of Nashville and Middle TN. I have no doubt that Nashville would rather have SW as its major airline than either AA or NW.

What MEM needs is an airline to bring more passengers to Memphis who will stay there, spend $ in hotels, attend conventions, rent cars and dine in local restaurants. Memphis' economy gets very little benefit by NWA bringing passengers to the airport, having them maybe buy a quick BBQ sandwich and drink in the terminal, and connecting them on another flight to their final destination. They see very little of Memphis. As for MEM to Amsterdam, what's the big deal about that? There are non-stops to European cities from dozens of airports all across the USA. MEM to Tokyo will never happen except with FedEx, the regional economy will not sustain it.

Hub cities of airlines have traditionally limited new low-cost entrants and caused air fares to stay high. Cities across the country that don't have SW service always try to entise them to get them to enter a market...the "Southwest Effect" as it is called is that important. So with NWA downsizing at MEM, perhaps SW will start some service there. IMO, this would be a major plus for MEM.

The only really important airline for Memphis is FedEx....always has been and will continue to be.

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Thanks for the reply, but I have an idea what I'm talking about. First off, a direct "passenger" flight to Europe is a bid deal. Cities like Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, ect. can not say that. Memphis is not a big enought city to automatically have these types of routes. Yes Southwest is a great airline, but being a focus city for a discount carrier would not bring in the tax dollars like Northwest. Not mention, corporates sponsors, ect.

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please explain how a northwest hub brings in so many tax dollars to memphis-shelby co. apart from landing/use fees and regular corporate taxes -- just how much extra tax revenue does it bring in? its well-known that landing fees at memphis airport are already really cheap because fedex pays for the majority based on their heavy use of the airport -- so northwest already gets a relative bargain and that's the main reason they didn't shut the thing down years ago.

i sure dont think northwest has been such a great corporate citizen in memphis, certainly nothing like fedex. they have always treated memphis like a poor step-child, especially compared to what they do in minneapolis and detroit!

in fact, they have gouged the pockets of local passengers for years with their very high air fares, compared to other cities.

i dont think memphis wont suffer too much when northwest closes down the hub. i would much, much rather have southwest airlines any day, it would be so much better for the traveling public.

paribasomw is right -- the only thing that really matters at memphis is fedex.

Thanks for the reply, but I have an idea what I'm talking about. First off, a direct "passenger" flight to Europe is a bid deal. Cities like Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, ect. can not say that. Memphis is not a big enought city to automatically have these types of routes. Yes Southwest is a great airline, but being a focus city for a discount carrier would not bring in the tax dollars like Northwest. Not mention, corporates sponsors, ect.

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You know your right Mr. Pilot. Heck, Memphis doesn't need Northwest. We don't need the hundreds of jobs that it has brought to our city alone. So what if I have to fly to nashville then atlanta then dallas then denver then kansas city and finally to my destination on the great southwest airlines. Hell it will give me a chance to visit the overcrowded and understated airports across the "United States." You were right, direct flights just suck plain and simple. They are just too easy and relaxing, traveling is not supposed to be enjoyable. Thanks for all the insight, I should have known pilots do more than simply fly planes and gossip about the industry in their cockpit. Well thanks once again, I'm now a changed man. icon1.gif

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You know your right Mr. Pilot. Heck, Memphis doesn't need Northwest. We don't need the hundreds of jobs that it has brought to our city alone. So what if I have to fly to nashville then atlanta then dallas then denver then kansas city and finally to my destination on the great southwest airlines. Hell it will give me a chance to visit the overcrowded and understated airports across the "United States." You were right, direct flights just suck plain and simple. They are just too easy and relaxing, traveling is not supposed to be enjoyable. Thanks for all the insight, I should have known pilots do more than simply fly planes and gossip about the industry in their cockpit. Well thanks once again, I'm now a changed man. icon1.gif

Okay I have to reply.

The only way you would fly to that many places on one single Southwest flight was if you bought your ticket that way. Southwest does this little thing called "point-to-point" flying. It's really neat and they only connect in certain cities. Atlanta isn't one of them. Heck they don't even fly to Atlanta. If you wanted to fly them and you wanted to go through Nashville, chances are you would go non-stop anyways so what's the beef?

It would seem as though this international flight to Amsterdam is nothing more than a reason for boastful pride on your part (and i'm sure others) on here and nothing more. Economically, it really hasn't proven to be a leg up in comparison to other markets Memphis' size across the country. Now, one could argue that FedEx has. I mean, how many international flights (destinations) do we have in Nashville? Two. And it's to typical places like Toronto and Cancun, but yet we have done well in the corporate aspect of things I would think. I think it's more about how "cheap" your airport is to fly out of, destinations served within this country, and how well your city presents itself to prospective companies looking to relocate that makes the difference here. That's where Southwest fills a void easily in our market. Dropping fares, giving us multiple non-stops to all major and mid-major cities (for the most part), and an aggressive civic leadership.

**It should be noted that if a city isn't non-stop from here, it is most likely a through flight with one required stop (no change of plane either) at somewhere like Houston, Baltimore, or Chicago.**

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Direct flights ARE great if (a) you the city that you want to visit is one of your direct flight options, and (b) if you can afford the fare. Otherwise, you're changing planes somewhere or driving up the road to start your journey at another airport.

With the Memphis-Amsterdam service, it's great if you want to go to Amsterdam. But any other city in Europe? You're connecting somewhere. Might as well be Atlanta or Detroit or Newark or Charlotte or somewhere in the US. Or worse, if you did want to go to Amsterdam, but had to change planes somewhere anyway because the one-stop fare was half as much? Turn an 8 hour transit into 12 hours. Yuck.

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Well the totals are in for 2007 and according to the news letter at memphisairport.org Memphis International is up by 89,551 passengers from 2006. That is from 10,806,754 in 2006 to 10,896,305 in 2007. It also handled 327,253,609 more pounds of cargo than 2006 from 8,141,305,181 pounds in 2006 to 8,468,558,790 pounds in 2007, and yes it grew more than Hong Kong in 2007 and its still the number air cargo hub in the world. Also, on another good note, aircraft operations were down by 9,834 in 2007, which I am guessing means that the airport ran more efficiently in 2007 than in 2006.

Here's the link to the news letter.memphisairport.org/notes

Oh yeah, Northwest needs to stay and the Amersterdam flight is always full up so its all right to be jealous of it. :D

Edited by Fellowmann20

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Oh yeah, Northwest needs to stay and the Amersterdam flight is always full up so its all right to be jealous of it. :D

Typical well thought out reply.

**See moderators, this is why you can't talk to any of the Memphis posters on here because of their third grade reply's that get them and others in trouble. It's that damn chip on their shoulder that they carry around daring someone to knock it off. When will somebody crack down on them for that? I'll probably get in trouble AGAIN for this but why should I be surprised.**

:dontknow:

Edited by Lexy

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Typical well thought out reply.

**See moderators, this is why you can't talk to any of the Memphis posters on here because of their third grade reply's that get them and others in trouble. It's that damn chip on their shoulder that they carry around daring someone to knock it off. When will somebody crack down on them for that? I'll probably get in trouble AGAIN for this but why should I be surprised.**

:dontknow:

If that's your take on things, I would suggest not coming to the Memphis subforum then.

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While I appreciate the follow-up comments on this timely aviation topic, I don't see as necessary or constructive in any way these 'attacks' on people who respond. There seems to be an awful lot of promotion or local "boosterism" here. I recall having read in the Urban Planet guidelines that such responses are unwelcome. Granted, many of the comments are often irrelevant, bullyish, filled with misspelling and typos, and clearly composed in a moment of anger.

Come on people, think carefully before pushing that "Add Reply" button. Let's please keep all replies civilized, relevant and factual.

If that's your take on things, I would suggest not coming to the Memphis subforum then.

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Direct flights ARE great if (a) you the city that you want to visit is one of your direct flight options, and (b) if you can afford the fare. Otherwise, you're changing planes somewhere or driving up the road to start your journey at another airport.

With the Memphis-Amsterdam service, it's great if you want to go to Amsterdam. But any other city in Europe? You're connecting somewhere. Might as well be Atlanta or Detroit or Newark or Charlotte or somewhere in the US. Or worse, if you did want to go to Amsterdam, but had to change planes somewhere anyway because the one-stop fare was half as much? Turn an 8 hour transit into 12 hours. Yuck.

For one thing, you can conviently connect to any city in Europe from AMS. You can only fly to major cities from the US, and those flights are usually only daily. Also, the flight provides convenient access to the flower growers in Holland, which has helped make Memphis the number one overnight shipper of flowers in the country. And it is nice to be directly connected to the rest of the world, rather than just an island. In a few weeks, I'm going to Charleston. It sure is nice to be able to take a direct flight. It sure is nice to take a direct flight to other cities I travel to like Baton Rouge, Jackson, Gulport, Destin, Panama City, and Vancouver. I've even flown to Vail and Aspen direct from Memphis. Yeah, I did have to connect in DEN to get to SAN once, but that soon won't be a problem.

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Pretty good news on the Northwest front for new service to MEM:

MEM-ORF

MEM-SAN

MEM-COS

MEM-BDL

What's interesting is that the MEM-SAN flight was supposed to be served by a Compass E175; however, it has been upgraded to an A319 before service even begins on this route. MEM-ORF and MEM-COS are both restored routes; however, the MEM-BDL route is new and a very exciting addition to the MEM hub.

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Pretty good news on the Northwest front for new service to MEM:

MEM-ORF

MEM-SAN

MEM-COS

MEM-BDL

What's interesting is that the MEM-SAN flight was supposed to be served by a Compass E175; however, it has been upgraded to an A319 before service even begins on this route. MEM-ORF and MEM-COS are both restored routes; however, the MEM-BDL route is new and a very exciting addition to the MEM hub.

I don't even know what cities those airports are in, except San Diego.

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BDL is a needed destination from MEM. Hopefully we can get PVD (Providence) and MHT (Manchester) in the future as both those airports have strong traffic and are great alternatives to Boston. BDL-MEM, however, is a long time to sit in the back of the CRJ, and if there's weather near Memphis that requires use of an alternate, some passengers are going to get bumped to add fuel (often a problem with BOS-MEM when on CRJ200s, not so much with the EMB175s).

Guess this old hub of ours still has a little life in it yet...

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Guess this old hub of ours still has a little life in it yet...

Today's Wall Street Journal reported that under the merger agreement being voted on by the Delta and Northwest boards tomorrow, the new airline (to be named Delta and HQ'd in Atlanta) will NOT eliminate any hubs.

That doesn't mean that they wouldn't eliminate hubs in time (like AA did with STL after acquiring TWA). But, if this story proves to be true, MEM will have dodged yet another opportunity to be de-hubbed. Perhaps there is a much more compelling business case for MEM as a passenger hub than many people believe.

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I just hope there's a way to restore some Frontier service. IRRC, it was low yields and not low loads? I'm glad we've preserved the hub status; hopefully we can increase flights.

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Of course any merger announcement is only going to state the positives, including saying that no current hubs will be eliminated. The primary objective now is to get the deal done. As such, everything at DL and NWA will be business-as- usual until the deal is officially approved, likely by the end of the year.

As with any such merger, the integration process will take a long time. Only then will the new airline be able to right-size itself and shift both mainline and regional routes and resources for greater efficiency and profitability.

In a combined DL/NWA, there is simply no logic (economically, geographically) for so many connecting passenger hubs. The hubs for the new Delta will be Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis, New York JFK and Salt Lake City.

Memphis and Cincinnati will see major service reductions over time, but both cities will continue to be important and well-served by the new Delta. This is a great opportunity for other carriers to begin or expand services.

Today's Wall Street Journal reported that under the merger agreement being voted on by the Delta and Northwest boards tomorrow, the new airline (to be named Delta and HQ'd in Atlanta) will NOT eliminate any hubs.

That doesn't mean that they wouldn't eliminate hubs in time (like AA did with STL after acquiring TWA). But, if this story proves to be true, MEM will have dodged yet another opportunity to be de-hubbed. Perhaps there is a much more compelling business case for MEM as a passenger hub than many people believe.

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Memphis and Cincinnati will see major service reductions over time, but both cities will continue to be important and well-served by the new Delta. This is a great opportunity for other carriers to begin or expand services.

Ultimately, you may be right. But I am not as certain as you are about this. Without significant airfield expansion, ATL simply cannot handle much more traffic without becoming outrageously congested. In addition to passenger frustration (which New Delta may not really care much about), congestion leads to general operation inefficiency (which they certainly will care about financially). A gridlocked airport drives up fuel costs as aircraft have to sit on the ground longer or circle overhead. It leads to higher crew pay. It leads to decreased asset utilization (more aircraft required to fly the same number of flights because the average flight takes longer).

If MEM can maintain its low cost structure and possibly offer Delta some other enticements (such as concourse improvements), MEM may have a future as a reliever hub for ATL. Remember, even if this airline does reduce capacity in the near-term, the economy will grow again and so will air traffic.

If Delta does zap MEM and CVG and try (unwisely) to cram more traffic into ATL, one has to wonder what impact this would have on AirTran's operation. They may find themselves looking for a less congest connecting-place...perhaps MEM.

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Here is the rendering of the new 336 ft, state-of-the-art control tower at Memphis International.

3rd tallest in the south

Glad to see this project breaking ground!! The article states that the building should be in commission by 2011. The tower should compensate for the growth of air traffic at and around MEM. (*Aerotropolis comes to mind*)

As a Memphian, I am concerned about the future of our city's most lucrative operation. It seems a merger is iminent and many are speculating the demise of the MEM hub. But why would plans for a new facility, which is being built in regards to traffic growth, break ground when the airport is expected to be dehubbed?

I found a short article that discusses the future of MEM.

Possible future of MEM

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Here is the rendering of the new 336 ft, state-of-the-art control tower at Memphis International.

3rd tallest in the south

Glad to see this project breaking ground!! The article states that the building should be in commission by 2011. The tower should compensate for the growth of air traffic at and around MEM. (*Aerotropolis comes to mind*)

As a Memphian, I am concerned about the future of our city's most lucrative operation. It seems a merger is iminent and many are speculating the demise of the MEM hub. But why would plans for a new facility, which is being built in regards to traffic growth, break ground when the airport is expected to be dehubbed?

I found a short article that discusses the future of MEM.

Possible future of MEM

Because a new ATC Tower has no bearing on whether you're a hub or not. Look at Huntsville, Alabama for a good example. ATC Towers are borne out of a need for modern facilities and ease of work. Along with traffic etc. The Memphis tower that is in use now is out of date and with FedEx having such a large presence there, the need is there for a new tower. With FedEx, Memphis will remain busy whether you retain the hub or not in a merger. That by itself justifies this new tower along with the new ANG ramp and new cargo ramp on the southeast side of the field.

Keep in mind, the people in the tower need to be able to see all of the field without any obstructions. They work Ground Control. It's the people in the radar room that are in no need of seeing what is taking place out on the airport field. Both systems need to be pretty up-to-date regardless.

Edited by Lexy

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^ True. But I also think this could be a good thing good for MEM. Look at Pittsburg and Nashville for instance; Both cities were dehubbed but now see more traffic. Weren't the fares pretty high at BNA when AA dominated the market? Since then, BNA has been doing better than before. I am pretty sure the same could be expected at MEM. For years NWA deadlocked the Memphis market with sky high fares. I don't expect Southwest to enter Memphis with significant operations at Nashville, Little Rock, and Jackson, Miss. Its unjustifiable to cram more flights in an already congested operation in Atlanta. I think Memphis would serve as a great reliever, as previously mentioned.

Experts say that Delta/NWA - which is expected to be called Delta - will save just over a billion dollars by closing both Cincinnatti and Memphis. I have pretty much made my piece with being dehubbed. We have the weather, tools, staff, and efficiency to see considerable traffic in the future..

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^ True. But I also think this could be a good thing good for MEM. Look at Pittsburg and Nashville for instance; Both cities were dehubbed but now see more traffic. Weren't the fares pretty high at BNA when AA dominated the market? Since then, BNA has been doing better than before. I am pretty sure the same could be expected at MEM. For years NWA deadlocked the Memphis market with sky high fares. I don't expect Southwest to enter Memphis with significant operations at Nashville, Little Rock, and Jackson, Miss. Its unjustifiable to cram more flights in an already congested operation in Atlanta. I think Memphis would serve as a great reliever, as previously mentioned.

Experts say that Delta/NWA - which is expected to be called Delta - will save just over a billion dollars by closing both Cincinnatti and Memphis. I have pretty much made my piece with being dehubbed. We have the weather, tools, staff, and efficiency to see considerable traffic in the future..

I think Memphis is fine right now as some reports are that the deal is off. I wouldn't get too worried if I used MEM often to be honest. NW has a strangle hold on the market in MEM and that's to be expected. But I suppose if Southwest wanted in there, they could do it with or without NW. They have taken on markets where there are much larger hub operations like Philly and Denver etc. I think if there were a merger, it would benefit MEM if either the hub stays or it goes. But that's just my humble opinion. Memphis is a great market for a strong LCC and I would suspect that if the hub was to disappear at some point, a LCC would come in and really take up the slack. You make some good and very valid points in your post.

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