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VOL. 132 | NO. 80 | Friday, April 21, 2017

Memphis Airport Unveils Updated Modernization Plan

By Patrick Lantrip

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The Memphis International Airport unveiled an updated $214 million, multiyear plan to completely overhaul its B Concourse, where almost all of the airport’s operations will be consolidated upon completion.

Memphis International Airport unveiled a new $214 million, multi-year plan to completely overhaul its B Concourse that will be completed in 2021.

(Memphis International Airport)

The new look and new price tag comes three years after the airport announced its original intentions to modernize and consolidate operations within Concourse B following Delta Air Lines’ decision to close its Memphis hub.

“A lot of people thought with the de-hubbing of Delta that we would just fall into our shell and figure out how to survive, but not how to thrive,” said Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority chairman Pace Cooper. “What this moment represents for us is transition from that past phase to a new and exciting phase.”

The 2014 consolidation and modernization plan carried a $114 million price tag, most of which was allocated for seismic retrofitting. The $214 million plan calls for the stem and southeast leg of Concourse B to be completely redesigned, reconstructed and expanded.

Memphis International Airport unveiled a new $214 million, multi-year plan to completely overhaul its B Concourse that will be completed in 2021.

(Memphis International Airport)

State and federal grants will be responsible for most of the funding, with the remainder coming out of the airport’s operating budget. Airport officials said no local tax dollars would be used, and MSCAA also plans to issue general airport revenue bonds to help fund the project.

The remodeled concourse will feature higher ceilings, increased natural light, wider corridors, larger gate areas, additional seating, moving walkways and charging stations, a stage for live music, and additional lounge areas, including a children’s play areas.

“Technology is the key,” said MSCAA board member Jack Sammons. “You have got to have a 100-volt outlet and a USB port for every chair.”

The process will begin later this year when Delta and Allegiant switch to Concourses A and C respectively, clearing the way for construction to start in early 2018 and wrap up in early 2021. A portion of Concourse C will be demolished once the consolidation is complete to allow for easier access to the terminals, much like the south end of Concourse A that was removed in 2015.

Once the project is completed, there will be 23 operational gates that will be able to accommodate 3 million enplanements – roughly 50 percent more traffic than the airport currently sees.

A portion of the southwest leg of Concourse B will remain open during the construction phase for international arrivals, excluding Air Canada. Future expansion plans would have the option to add roughly 15 more gates or 5.5 million enplanements, if the airport’s long-term growth deems it necessary.

The airport authority will host a business development and new project showcase May 12 at the Guest House at Graceland to provide local, minority- and women-owned businesses more information about upcoming projects.

“We’ve looked at being very intentional with our minority participation,” said MSCAA president and CEO Scott Brockman. “So we’re having the meeting on May 12 as a kickoff to bring all of our projects, including the modernization, that are going to occur in the next one to five years and start to present them to the local community, local contractors and local minority companies so they can get ready for what is about to come in the future.”

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