Memphis International Airport is located nine miles southeast of downtown Memphis, Tennessee in the US. Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority owns and operates the airport.

The airport has been the largest cargo handler in the world since 1993. It is also a “Super Hub” for the FedEx Express, which operates non-stop international freighters to London, Frankfurt, Paris, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Memphis International Airport can accommodate ten million passengers a year. It handled 9.88 million passengers and 8.15 billion pounds of cargo, and recorded 338,973 aircraft movements in 2009.

An expansion of the airport as laid out in its master plan is currently underway. The expansion, scheduled for completion in 2012, will include the construction of a ground transportation centre (GTC) and a new air traffic control tower (ATCT).

Memphis airport master plan

In October 2008, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority hired Jacobs Consultancy to develop a new master plan. Jacobs Consultancy completed the 2027 Airport Master Plan in 2009, which includes a GTC and a new control tower. The master plan is aimed at long-term improvements of the airport and scaling growth in activity until 2030.

Memphis airport expansion

The GTC design and details were unveiled by Memphis International Airport in January 2010. It will feature seven levels of ground transportation services and provide quality services to passengers and car rental companies.

“Memphis airport can accommodate ten million passengers a year.”

The outer skin of the centre will be built with perforated metal panels to allow for screened lighting. The 840ft-long series of moving walkways will connect the centre with the airport terminal.

Walker Parking Consultants is the lead designer while Flintco, Inc. is the general contractor for the $89m project. The construction is anticipated to begin in March 2010 and is scheduled for completion by spring 2012.

The GTC will be located between the existing three-level parking deck and the new air traffic control tower (ATCT). The new ATCT is being built by Flintco, Inc. at a cost of $61.5m. At 336ft-high, it will be the third tallest ATCT in the southern region of the country.

In addition, a two-level tower cab is currently under construction. The structure is expected to be built by July 2010. Following the electronic wiring and equipment installation, the new tower will be commissioned in early 2011. New systems installed in the tower include the ASDE-X ground radar system, an enhanced traffic management system and three weather-mapping systems.

Airport terminal features

The airport has a main terminal with three concourses – A, B and C. The main terminal is connected with the concourses by walkways. The domestic and international flights operate from Concourse B, while Concourse A and C operate domestic flights only. Concourse A has 23 gates, while B and C contain 41 and 18 gates respectively. The baggage claim area is located between the three concourses.

The terminal features ticket counters, car rental and hotel reservation desks, shops, food and beverage venues, ATMs, currency exchange, pet service and an animal relief area. There are many moving walkways and escalators available in the terminal.

Memphis airport runways

Memphis International Airport has four runways, designated as 18L/36R, 9/27, 18R/36L and 18C/36C.

“The master plan is aimed at long-term improvements of the airport.”

The 18L/36R and 9/27 runways measure 9,000ft in length and 150ft in width. The 18C/36C is 11,120ft long and 150ft wide, while 18R/36L is 9,320ft long and 150ft wide. All runways are made of concrete.

Following nine months of construction, the runway 9/27 was reopened in November 2009. The runway was resurfaced with a 20in pavement costing around $50m.

Ajax was the lead contractor and APAC-Tennessee, Hypower Inc. and Kamminga and Roodvoets Inc. were the subcontractors of the project.

Airport transportation

The passengers can use various means of ground transportation, including metered taxis, rental cars, airport shuttles, hotel shuttle buses, limousines and hired shuttle services. Taxis are available at the terminal B baggage claim area at the ground level. The passengers can prearrange the hired shuttle services prior to the arrival at the airport. There is a wheelchair accessible taxicab for disabled passengers.

Memphis airport parking

The airport has 871 short-term and 3,553 long-term parking spaces. The short-term spaces are located in a three-story parking garage near to all three terminals. Long-term spaces are available in the three-storey parking garage opposite the terminal and in the Centre Lot.

The economy parking in the West Lot offers services at reduced rates. There are also short-term and long-term accessible spaces, and van accessible spaces available in the airport. Free shuttles run 24-hours a day to and from the economy parking lot and the centre long-term parking lot.