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Call me maybe? How airport-airline “speed dating” can boost MEM’s air service
Wednesday, June 7, 2017

This week, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority President and CEO Scott Brockman, Board of Commissioners Chairman Pace Cooper, and new Air Service Research and Development Manager Chip Gentry are attending the Airport Council International-North America’s (ACI's) JumpStart conference in Providence, Rhode Island. The conference allows airports to connect with airlines in a “speed dating” environment: allowing both sides of the air service equation to connect with several potential partners in a relatively short amount of time. 

At this year’s event, we’ve got at least 12 meetings set up with new and existing carriers, representing domestic and international service. The photo above shows Brockman, Cooper and Gentry meeting with Joe Nevill of United Airlines on Tuesday. 

Our goals for Memphis International Airport (MEM) vary, depending on the airline. Sometimes we’re working to maintain existing service. Sometimes we know that MEM is being considered for a route and we want to move up the list and re-emphasize the importance of that route. And sometimes we are making a case for a particular route. In short, our goal is to see how MEM can fit into the short-, medium-, and long-term business plans of various airline companies. This type of speed-dating and can lead to more extensive meetings about adding air service to the Memphis market.

The format of JumpStart is a brief 20-minute meeting between the airline and the airport. Airports can request meetings with airlines and vice versa, and ACI utilizes “matchmaking” software to craft a meeting schedule for each airport with airlines that want to meet with them. In 2016, JumpStart connected airline route planners from 31 airlines at over 1,428 one-on-one meetings.

More information about JumpStart can be found at https://www.aci-na.org/jumpstart

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