Memphis Airport Embarks on $114M Modernization Plan

Times they are a-changing in the air travel industry and Memphis International Airport s following suit.

Times are changing in the air travel industry, and Memphis International Airport (MEM) is following suit. The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) has announced the launch of a $114 million modernization plan set to thoroughly revamp the airport. The main goal of the project is to consolidate operations into one expanded and upgraded concourse from the existing three.

The multi-phase plan is set to kick off this year and continue throughout 2020. A bidding call for the removal of the south ends of the A and C concourses will start the project, with actual work expected to begin before the year is out. Airlines will start relocating in 2015 and continue through 2016, when the three-phase modernization and expansion of Concourse B is set to start. Upon completion the number of gates will have been cut from the current 83 to 60. However, only a part of the remaining gates will be used. The ones in use will increase the number of flights per day, while the unused ones will be kept for future growth.  Further changes will include significantly wider corridors and airline gates/boarding areas at Concourse B, as well as raised ceilings and a bevy of windows to further increase space and make use of natural light. Moving walkways will be installed, as will new electronic flight information displays. Seismic upgrades are also included in the renovation project.

With airlines and flights consolidating at Concourse B, retail and food and beverage operations will follow suit. Although the Airport Authority has guaranteed it won’t be eliminating any jobs, more efficient and consolidated facilities could eliminate some retail and airline jobs. However, the overall economic impact of the project is expected to be favorable for not only the airport and its partners, but also the greater Memphis Area, as a clause to hire local contractors extensively throughout construction will bring job employment opportunities to the Greater Memphis Area.

The Airport Authority will not need additional general airport revenue bond debt to be issued. According to the Memphis Business Journal, costs will covered by federal grants, the Tennessee Transportation Equity Fund and the airport’s own cash flow, which is currently on the rise as MSCAA is paying off its debts.

Renderings courtesy of Memphis International Airport