Modernization: A Better MEM

The Memphis International Airport (MEM) is embarking on a new plan to modernize and consolidate airline and retail operations in Concourse B.

The multiphase, multiyear plan includes the addition of moving walkways, wider corridors, larger boarding areas, higher ceilings and natural lighting. The plan will consolidate airline, retail and food and beverage operations in Concourse B. Retail and food/beverage options will remain intact in the ticketing area.

The project includes the removal of the south ends of the A and C Concourses to allow for unobstructed access by aircraft to the entire B Concourse.

The end of the A Concourse has been removed and the repaving of the construction area has been completed.

The timing of the removal of the end of Concourse C will depend on the final design plans for the B Concourse. The airport will provide a more extensive update later in 2017.

The entire project will take an estimated 4-5 years to complete. 
Highlights of the Concourse B Modernization
  • Consolidation of Airlines: Airlines are currently spread out across three concourses, but the modernization project will move all airline operations to Concourse B. While Concourses A and C will be closed, gates will be retained in these areas to accommodate future growth. Until the consolidation, Concourses A and C will remain fully operational.
  • Consolidation of Retail, Food and Beverage: Retail operations from Concourses A and C will also be consolidated into Concourse B. This will expose vendors to a concentrated flow of passengers and will likewise provide passengers with more shopping and dining options.
  • Higher Ceilings, Larger Gate Areas, Moving Walkways, and Increased Natural Lighting: The modernized B Concourse will provide passengers with more room to move, additional natural lighting and higher ceilings to create a more open environment. Moving walkways will also help improve the passenger experience.
  • Seismic Upgrades: The modernization project will allow MEM to perform needed seismic upgrades to the B Concourse. 
Modernization Plan FAQs
  • Q: How will this benefit passengers? (click for answer)
    Airport passengers will benefit in a number of ways from the concourse modernization at Memphis International Airport (MEM). Gates no longer will be spread out across three concourses – they will be consolidated into one. Travelers will have more access to concessionaires since these businesses will be located in the B Concourse. There will be more room to move through the widened corridors and larger boarding areas, more lighting from added windows and taller ceilings, and enhanced customer service via the addition of moving walkways. 

  • Q: How long will it take? Why? 
    We estimate that the entire project will take between five and seven years to complete, due to the extent of the improvements. During this period, the airport and airlines will continue to maintain normal operations for our travelers without disruption. The removal of the end of the A concourse is complete. The removal of the south end of the C Concourse and the beginning of the migration of airlines to the B Concourse are both dependent upon the final design specifications. More milestones and an updated timeline will be released later in 2017.

  • Q: Is the airport closing A and C concourses? 
    Yes. However, we are only removing the south ends of the A and C concourses. Check-in will continue in the A, B and C ticketing areas. You still also will be able to enter and exit through the A and C baggage areas. In addition, gates will be retained in A and C for possible future use by the airlines. Until the consolidation, Concourses A and C will remain fully operational. 

  • Q: Will airline services be affected? 
    No, the airlines will continue to operate normally in terms of ticketing, flights and baggage. The primary change will be that all airline gate operations will be located in the B Concourse. The Airport Authority will continue to update the public on any changes that this relocation creates.

  • Q: Will this affect fares? 
    No, it will not. The Airport Authority does not set fares for airlines, and the pricing strategy for each airline is independent of any construction that occurs at MEM.

  • Q: Will there be enough room for future airlines? 
    The Airport Authority will continue to relentlessly pursue frequent and affordable air service, and will be able to accommodate the addition of future airlines and flights. Since the beginning of 2015, MEM has made 20 new flight announcements and added three new airlines. 

  • Q: Does this mean we won’t be a hub again?
    Airlines are reducing hubs rather than adding them, making it less likely that MEM will be selected as an airport hub again. However, this project will not inhibit MEM’s ability to serve as a hub should the opportunity once again arise. The primary benefit of having an airline hub is the access to more nonstop flights for passengers. However, the fares for these flights are typically higher. During the Delta hub era, Memphis flights had some of the highest fares in the nation. With an origin and destination (O&D)-based airport, passengers must connect in other cities more often, but pay lower fares to get to their destination. Memphis has already seen its average airfares drop since Delta ceased hub operations. Furthermore, there still will be plenty of gates to facilitate future growth for the airport.

  • Q: Will this affect FedEx?
    No, FedEx will continue to operate normally.

  • Q: Why did you build a new parking garage with all these changes coming?
    The main reason is that the passengers lost with the hub departure were TRANSFER passengers – they weren’t parking here. They were connecting in Memphis on their way to their eventual destination. The good news is that usage of airport parking continues to increase rapidly, and was unaffected by the loss of the Delta hub. The creation of the Ground Transportation Center also allowed the airport to consolidate the rental car companies and employee parking in a central location. Finally, the parking garage is a source of convenience for passengers, who can park for as little as $6 per day at the airport. This is an important revenue source for the airport as well.

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