What do baggage handling, setting airfares, security checkpoint regulations and Global Entry interviews have in common? Well, obviously these are aviation and airport-related subjects. Another common denominator: none of these functions are handled by the airport. It’s common for us to receive questions about these subjects via social media and email. It’s understandable, considering the airport is where you start and end your trip. But if the airport doesn’t handle these tasks, who does? Let’s take a look at who does what at MEM:
MSCAA operates Memphis International Airport (MEM), as well as general aviation airports General DeWitt Spain Airport near downtown and Charles W. Baker Airport near Millington. What do we mean by “operate?” Well, at MEM, the Airport Authority is responsible for maintaining the facilities and runways, and we lease space to tenants such as airlines, FedEx, restaurants, rental car companies, retail stores, and others. For example, our employees help keep the runways clear during inclement weather, and MSCAA is coordinating the current modernization project. The Memphis Airport Police Department is also part of the Airport Authority.
Airlines are responsible for many crucial tasks at the airport. They coordinate all aspects of ticketing and scheduling and are responsible for baggage handling. Airfares are also set by the airlines rather than the airport – the airport has little to no impact on fares. Other airline tasks include wheelchair assistance to the gate, gate staffing and management, and the maintenance, fueling and de-icing of planes.
TSA manages the staffing and operation of the security checkpoints. There’s also a TSA Precheck Application office between the B and C ticketing lobbies.
The FAA coordinates the air traffic control tower at MEM, develops and enforces air traffic rules, assigns the use of airspace, and controls air traffic. The FAA also serves as the regulatory entity for drone operations.
The CBP handles all customs functions at MEM and also operates a Global Entry Application center between the B and C ticketing lobbies.
Retail and Restaurants
Paradies Lagardiere is an international vendor that manages all retail stores at MEM. There are multiple food and beverage vendors that operate restaurants throughout the airport: EKG Group (Runway 901), and HMS Host (Lenny’s, Neely’s, Home Team Sports, Starbucks, Torn Basil, Urban Market, Moe’s Southwest Grill, and Blue Moon Tap Room).
MEM has a state-of-the-art fire-fighting facility, Station 9. This facility is in operation 24 hours a day. The department is part of the City of Memphis Division of Fire Services and employs more than 35 firefighters who utilize several specialized vehicles.
MEM passengers are served by nine national rental car companies. Rental car services are located at MEM’s seven-story parking garage facility, and these companies are responsible for car rental services at MEM, including reservations, vehicle checkout and return, and rates.