Posts tagged: Airport

Memphis International Airport Lands New Flights

American Airlines/US Airways and United Airlines are adding new daily flights at Memphis International Airport this month.

United is adding a daily flight to Denver and American Airlines/US Airways will add an additional daily flight to Chicago and Dallas.

“We are excited that more options are available to our passengers looking to travel to Chicago, Dallas, and Denver,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

Including the new flights, the peak monthly flight total  in Memphis in May is 93, up from 86 in February. The new flights bring 863 more available seats for Memphis passengers. Since Delta Airlines dropped Memphis as a hub, every other airline at Memphis International has increased its number of flight options and the Airport Authority said more additions will take place in June.

“We’ve increased our available seats by 12 percent since February, and we will continue our relentless pursuit of frequent and affordable air service,” said Brockman.

 

 

Phil Trenary and the Greater Memphis Chamber

Phil Trenary has been named the new president and CEO of the Greater Memphis Chamber.

Trenary is the second leader of the economic development agency in a row to come from the aviation industry. Trenary, the former president and CEO of Pinnacle Airlines, is taking over from former Northwest Airlines executive John Moore, who retired in January. And the previous chairman of the Chamber’s Board of Directors was former Memphis and Shelby County Authority president and CEO Larry Cox.

Though the Chamber hired the Centre Group to conduct a national search for Moore’s replacement, the Chamber Board’s executive committee selected Trenary, at least in part, because of his established roots in economic and community development circles.

City Councilman Harold Collins, who privately urged Trenary to stay in Memphis and consider the leadership position at the Chamber, applauded the selection.

“I always thought (Trenary) would be an excellent choice because he already knows the lay off the land in Memphis having spent a considerable amount of time leading Pinnacle and being a good corporate citizen in Memphis,” said Collins. “I think (Trenary) being named the new president and CEO makes it a seamless transition.”

Trenary takes the reigns of the organization as it seeks to loosen poverty’s grip on the Memphis area through job creation and retention efforts, which include an increased focus on early childhood education and local politics. Currently, the Chamber is urging the city to switch to a 401(k) retirement system instead of relying on its traditional pension program, which is severely underfunded.

Trenary said this week he has been impressed with the coordinated commitment local stakeholders – from individuals to neighborhood organizations, community groups and companies – have shown toward moving Memphis forward. Trenary also said he was particularly excited  by the prospect of a new generation of Memphians getting involved.

“The young people understand that something is happening here and we have to understand and embrace that and if we do we’ll be off to the races,” Trenary said.

Trenary, 59, lives Downtown with his wife, Bridget and their children, Justin, Brittney and Pearce.

More on the return of Frontier Airlines

Frontier Airlines made its return to Memphis Friday. Check our homepage for a full rundown of the events. You also can check out some videos from the event on my Twitter page or Vine feed.

Each of Frontier’s 56 planes has one of the airline’s animal mascots painted on the tail. The flight that landed in Memphis Friday featured “Hector” the otter, whose hobby is “taking siestas. Lots of them.” You can learn more about Frontier’s animal mascots here.  Make sure that you bookmark Frontier’s website and follow the airline on Twitter.

Memphis International Airport officials were giddy over Frontier’s return, and for good reason. Memphis International is in a transition period, moving away from a hub airport dominated by Delta Airlines to one focused on origin and destination traffic and increased competition. Since Delta pulled the plug on the hub the number of flights at Memphis International have dropped dramatically.

The changes at Memphis International prompted a $114 million concourse modernization plan, which was highlighted when the Frontier jet from Denver arrived here in Memphis.

The Frontier flight arrived at Gate C7, one of the roughly 20 – 25 gates slated to be razed under the plan. The Frontier flight landed a little earlier than its scheduled 1:30 p.m. arrival time but had to wait to pull up to the gate because of a Delta plane that was departing. There was only one lane for both planes, a situation Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority president and CEO Scott Brockman said would be eliminated by the modernization plan.

“When people ask why we’re pursuing this plan, you just saw why,” said Brockman.

Memphis International Airport Joins Twitterverse

Memphis International Airport has taken flight on Twitter.

The airport joined the popular social networking site on Friday, Jan. 14 with @flymemphis.

The airport, which is under new leadership, has been criticized for having a poor public communications strategy but has taken steps to change that reputation. The airport has hired a public information officer and entered into a cooperative marketing agreement with the airlines to market service to and from Memphis.

Northwest, Delta & The Memphis Airport

I spent far too much time in a number of different airports over the last few days, including a number of visits to the single worst airport in the United States: ATL, the Atlanta airport.

I was thinking about this in the context of our recent article on ongoing improvements to the Memphis Airport, a starkly different article in the New York Times today about delayed and canceled improvement projects at many other airports nationwide, and the steady and perhaps ominous (for Memphis, at least) replacement of Northwest Airlines signage with Delta signage that I saw during my trip.

Atlanta is the worst US airport I’ve ever used. It’s not for a lack of amenities: there appear to be a nearly unlimited range of dining, entertainment and retail options throughout the airport. The concourses are architecturally interesting. The high windows offer beautiful, panoramic views.

The problem is that I’m never able to use or enjoy any of these apparently wonderful options or features because, in Atlanta, I’m always sprinting from Concourse A to Concourse D, bag in tow, frantic because, as always, I’ve arrived late.

In all my years traveling, I’m not sure I’ve ever not been late arriving in Atlanta only to find that, after sprinting across the airport, my flight is delayed, be it an official delay that leaves you wandering around the gate hoping for some news or explanation of what’s going on, or the unofficial “we’re 19th in line to take off” delay that gets you in your seat on time but leaves you rolling across the tarmac at a somewhat sub-supersonic 2 MPH.

On one recent trip, the pilot actually announced, “It’ll take longer to get to the runway today than the flight itself will take.” I thought it was an expected but welcome bit of irony from the pilot. It wasn’t. I fell asleep on the plane, woke up thinking we must be in the air, but then realized we were still only number 3 for takeoff.

All this makes me hope that Memphis does in fact benefit from the Northwest/Delta merger by taking some flights from the obviously overburdened Atlanta airport. I’m sure Delta will make its decisions about cutbacks or expansions in service at the Memphis airport entirely on cost and profits, which is fine. But one has to think — or maybe it’s just hope — that all those delays in Atlanta must result in some sort of additional cost, some diminishment of profit, that could be addressed by utilizing Memphis more, not less.

Memphis is an imperfect airport — a number of truly surreal delays in getting luggage from baggage claim come to mind and the airport lacks the amenities and architectural grandeur that swept through so many airports over the last decades. But it’s a perfectly pleasant, thoroughly manageable airport that, for the time being at least, will get you anywhere you want to go. Let’s hope it stays that way — or even gets better.

Posted by Eric Barnes, publisher of The Daily News, The Memphis News and Chandler Reports.

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