VOL. 126 | NO. 20 | Monday, January 31, 2011
MEM Passengers Down in 2010, Cargo Up
By Bill Dries
Year-end passenger and cargo counts for Memphis International Airport showed a slight drop in passenger traffic and growth in cargo.
But the growth in cargo wasn’t enough for the airport to keep its designation as the world’s busiest cargo airport.
The official rankings will be out in April, but preliminary numbers show Memphis International Airport’s cargo tonnage was at 3.9 million metric tons compared to 4.1 million metric tons at Hong Kong International Airport. This marks the first time in history that Memphis has not been named the busiest cargo airport in the world.
The annual reports were among the items reviewed at Friday’s meeting of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.
Memphis International handled 8.6 billion pounds of cargo for the year, a 5.9 percent increase from the 8.1 billion pounds handled in 2009.
Passenger traffic at Memphis International in 2010 was just more than 10 million passengers, a drop of 2.2 percent or about 230,000 fewer passengers than 2009.
The board also approved a $700,000 settlement of a lawsuit by Eller Media Co. at Friday’s meeting.
The board filed condemnation petitions for two properties at 3003 Convair Road and 3910 Plough Blvd. in April 2001. The properties included Eller billboards that involved long-term leases.
Eller sued over the leases. New billboard construction has been stopped for several years by a city moratorium. The result is existing billboards are a closely guarded commodity in the local billboard industry.
The monthly reports for the last month of 2010 showed Memphis handled 790.1 million pounds of cargo, up .4 percent from 786.4 million in December 2009.
Meanwhile, Memphis International’s passenger count was down for the month, seeing 247 average daily scheduled flights, a 2.3 percent decrease from 253 average daily scheduled flights in December 2009.
The airport flew 785,854 passengers last month, down 3.1 percent from December 2009’s 810,967 passenger count. Year to date shows a 2.2 percent dip in passenger totals.