Mayor A C Wharton is in Paris today, according to his Facebook Status:
“In Paris today, addressing European and US officials about Memphis’ global significance as North America’s ‘Aerotropolis.’ Thanks to FedEx and other great corporate partners, Memphis International Airport is the busiest cargo airport on the planet! This pillar of our economy is poised for even more growth in the years ahead.”
The term “aerotropolis” was coined in the mid-1990s by John Kasarda – a business professor at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at the University of North Carolina – when describing Asian airports that were growing into sprawling airport-cities.
As Kasarda considered how the aerotropolis concept might fit within the American airport model, he noticed Memphis, whose airport ranked No. 1 in the world for cargo and was a passenger hub for a major airline.
Wharton’s appearance comes before the upcoming 2011 Airport Cities World Conference & Exhibition, hosted by Memphis International Airport. With the tagline, “You’ve Got to Get to Memphis,” the three-day event’s keynote speakers are Fred Smith, chairman, president and CEO of FedEx Corp., and Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines Inc.
A record number of attendees have already made their reservations for the April 11-13 conference, where officials from airport facilities near and far will see firsthand the world’s busiest facility for moving cargo for 18 year and running. Attendees will also get literally a taste of Memphis, with barbecue pitstops and a visit to Graceland.
“The fact that the organizers selected Memphis as the host site for the 2011 annual meeting underscores the fact that Memphis clearly has attained the status as a global city and unquestionably has risen to America’s aerotropolis,” Arnold Perl, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority and chairman of the “Memphis: America’s Aerotropolis” initiative of the Greater Memphis Chamber, told The Daily News in December.