Memphis International Airport
The international airport in Memphis is located southeast of Memphis, Tennessee.
History of Memphis Airport
Mayor Watkins Overton of Memphis began a planning commission for a municipal airport in 1927. The commission selected a 200-acre farm, which was about 10 miles from the downtown district of Memphis. One of the benefits of this site was the fact that there was room for the airport to grow in the future. The airport was called Memphis Municipal Airport. It had one sod runway and three hangers at the airport. The two major carriers that served the airport at that time were Chicago & Southern Airlines and American Airways. A brand new terminal was constructed to address passenger and air traffic needs in 1938. The Army of the United States took control of the airport during World War II. Although construction at the airport ceased during that time, it resumed when the United States Army relinquished control in 1947.
Nine years later, a new commission on airport planning was formed to create a new terminal as air traffic had changed significantly since the conclusion of World War II. The terminal that was constructed cost $5.5 million and it opened in 1963. With the completion of the terminal, the airport received a name change and was known as Memphis Metropolitan Airport. Six years later, the name of the airport was changed again to Memphis International Airport. Part of the reason for the change was the fact that the airport received international flights. As time went on, Memphis International Airport continued to grow. The main terminal received more concourses and gates. In 1973, FedEx Express was established in Memphis. The result was that the international airport in Memphis had an influx of cargo shipping. From the early 1990s until now, the airport is one of the busiest in the world for cargo shipping. Passenger traffic increased dramatically when Republic Airlines chose Memphis as a hub in 1985. One year later, a major renovation and expansion began at the airport. The work at the airport included runways, restaurants, waiting areas, aircraft parking. In 2004, a land swap occurred between the Memphis International Airport and FedEx and the Tennessee Air National Guard. That same year, the concessions at the airport received a change. The result of this was that passengers had the option to have food that is more authentic from the Memphis area. Four years later, the parking garages and control tower at the airport were updated and expanded. In 2011, a brand new parking garage was added.
Airport Operations & Facilities
There are three terminals at the international airport in Memphis. The terminals are Terminal A, Terminal B and Terminal C. There are 23 gates at Terminal A. All international flights are received through Terminal B. This terminal has 43 gates. The final terminal, Terminal C, has 18 gates.
Memphis International Airport has four runways. The longest is 11,100 feet, opened in the year 2000. One of the benefits of the new runway was the fact that it could receive larger jets with bigger cargo and passenger capacity. The shortest runway at the airport is made out of asphalt and is less than 9,000 feet long. All of the other runways are at least 9,000 feet long and constructed of concrete.
Courtesy of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, string and woodwind quartets play a one-hour music concert once a month in Concourse B. A number of pieces of art are on display between all of the concourses. The works are from a variety of schools in and around Memphis including the University of Memphis and the Memphis College of Art.