Why do a Master Plan Update?
Over the past 20 years, significant changes have occurred at Memphis International Airport (MEM). The airport has transitioned to operating as an origin and destination airport and has added new airlines to serve Memphis in the post-hub era. In addition, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) continues to ensure our airfield serves the needs of the FedEx World Hub and our other tenants and modernizing our terminal and landside has been the renewed focus over the past decade.
Significant investments have been made in our airfield and terminal to position MEM for continued success. The largest of those investments include the Central Deicing Facility (CDF) and Concourse Modernization.
The CDF is both an environmentally-focused and efficiency-focused facility. It not only allows our cargo hub operation to run smoothly even when inclement weather forces aircraft to deice before take-off, it also allows the collection and retention of the fluid used for deicing. In doing so, much of the fluid is recycled as opposed to processed in a treatment plant – which is both green and economical. Opened in February 2022, the modernized concourse is the first step in providing Memphians a modern world class terminal and provides our airline partners, FAA, TSA and concessionaires a flexible and efficient facility out of which to operate.A Master Plan provides a comprehensive, organized and phased approach that will continue to guide current and future development of airport facilities over a planning horizon of 20 years.
The MEM Master Plan Update (last completed in 2010) will provide a roadmap to completing the terminal modernization, updating and expanding our landside (parking, rental car, curb) facilities and ensuring our world class airfield continues to meet the needs of our cargo, airline, general aviation and military tenants. The phased implementation of the plan ensures that MEM will efficiently and effectively meet the demands for commercial passenger and cargo service, as well as other aviation related needs.
The Current Status of the Master Plan UpdateIn 2018, the MSCAA launched the Master Plan Update for Memphis International Airport. However, the ensuing pandemic slowed the process down considerably. The update is following the same general airport master planning process prescribed by the FAA and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. In general, it is identifying industry trends and assessing future aviation demand patterns in order to create a cohesive, long-term airport development strategy, which in turn will help define a new Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) for the Airport.
When the pandemic took hold in Spring of 2019, the process had just received FAA approval of the Forecast of Aviation Activity, which defines the anticipated passenger, aircraft operations (landing and take-offs) and cargo tonnage 20-years into the future. This forecast sets the stage for identifying what of our facilities need expansion or improvement to serve the needs of the traveling public, tenants, FAA and TSA.As the world started to rebound from the pandemic, the MSCAA slowly re-engaged with the Master Plan Update. First the forecast of activity was validated to ensure that the long-range (20-year) forecast was still valid even with the impacts of the pandemic. Then future facility requirements were identified and alternatives to meet those requirements developed. We now find ourselves in a position to reengage stakeholders to review this information, discuss what the 20-year plan might look like in terms of expanding and modernizing our facilities and take comments.