A Comment By Joe Lee III
Following a recent column in which this writer expressed distress at Delta’s abandonment of the Memphis Airport, we received a note outlining the airport’s modernization plans from Glen Thomas, public information officer of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.
The airport folks appear to be working hard to maintain a high level of service at Memphis International Airport (MEM), by modernizing the B Concourse and consolidating operations.
This “multi-year, multi-phased plan includes consolidating airline, food, beverage and retail concessions into the B Concourse; and improvements such as additional moving walkways, wider corridors, larger boarding areas, higher ceilings and increased natural lighting. The project includes the removal of the south ends of the A and C Concourses to allow for unobstructed access by aircraft to the entire B Concourse. The entire project will take an estimated five to seven years to complete,” Thomas told us.
“We have begun the process of reinventing the Memphis Airport,” said Scott Brockman, MSCAA president and CEO.
“Part of that reinvention involves consolidating operations so we can better serve our passengers, airlines, concessionaires, and employees. More importantly, we’re going to modernize the B Concourse, giving our passengers more room to move, better lighting and more convenience,” Brockman added.
Gates on the A and C Concourses will be closed but retained for future use, and concessions in the A and C Concourses will be moved to B, giving them greater exposure to concentrated numbers of passengers.
A good many enhancements are planned for the B Concourse:
- Corridors and airline gate/boarding areas in the B Concourse will be widened to give passengers more room as they move to and from gates and wait to board.
- Moving walkways will be installed.
- Ceilings will be raised and windows will be added, creating more space and more ?natural lighting.
- New electronic flight information displays will be installed that include arrival and ?departure times for all airlines.
- The airport will also perform seismic upgrades during the construction. ?
- The south ends of Concourses A and C will be removed to eliminate potential traffic barriers to aircraft operating out of the B concourse.
The project is expected to total approximately $114 million in capital costs, and the Airport Authority does not anticipate that this will require the issuance of any additional general airport revenue bond debt, nor will the project affect airfares, the airport news release stated.
The removal of the south end of Concourse A is expected to begin late this year, and the entire project is expected to be completed by 2020.
The Boss of the House and I have always enjoyed flying in and out of the Memphis Airport, although airline greed and security hassles test passenger patience at every airport nowadays.
I remember years ago, the public address system at MEM had the most polite and pleasant southern lady’s voice on a loop telling cars not to park in “the red zone.” Hearing her voice alone was enough to make me want to go to the Memphis Airport, and, I was careful never to park where she did not want me to!
Grenada County Supervisor Michael Lott recently brought us a copy of J.C. Hathorn’s “A History of Grenada County.” We scanned it and have placed it on GrenadaStar.com, if you would like to check it out.
For your convenience, you can type in a key word and it will be found and highlighted.
Mr. Hathorn was superintendant of schools in Grenada when I was in school. He would frequently walk down the halls and visit classes.
We students loved to see him show up. He would usually seize on some detail of the daily lesson or a current event and go into minute detail about it — undoubtably completely derailing the teacher’s lesson plan — but students loved it.
Most of us thought he was the smartest man in the world. Actually, he was pretty sharp!
To check out his book, go to the newspaper’s website, scroll down the left side and look for “Grenada History”.
If you are interested, you will also find a copy of the City of Grenada’s most recent financial audit in the same index area.