Memphis International Airport

Memphis International Airport
Memphis International Airport
Memphis Intl Airport Logo.svg
Airport type Public
Owner/Operator Memphis - Shelby County Airport Authority
Serves Memphis, Tennessee
Hub for
Elevation AMSL 341 ft / 104 m
Coordinates 35°02′33″N 089°58′36″W / 35.0425°N 89.97667°W / 35.0425; -89.97667Coordinates: 35°02′33″N 089°58′36″W / 35.0425°N 89.97667°W / 35.0425; -89.97667
FAA airport diagram
MEM is located in Tennessee
Location within Tennessee
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18C/36C 11,120 3,389 Concrete
18L/36R 9,000 2,743 Concrete
18R/36L 9,320 2,841 Concrete
9/27 8,946 2,727 Asphalt
Statistics (2009, 2010)
Aircraft operations (2009) 349,448
Based aircraft (2009) 64
Passengers (2010) 10,368,048
Sources: FAA[1] & airport website[2]

Memphis International Airport (IATA: MEMICAO: KMEMFAA LID: MEM) is a joint civil-military public airport located three miles (5 km) south of the central business district of Memphis, a city in Shelby County, Tennessee, United States.

Memphis International Airport is home to the main FedEx Express global "SuperHub", which processes a significant portion of the freight carrier's packages. [3] Nonstop FedEx destinations from Memphis include scores of cities across the continental U.S., plus Anchorage and Honolulu, as well as numerous Canadian, Mexican, and Caribbean cities. Intercontinental nonstops include: Cologne, Dubai, Paris, London, Sao Paulo, Seoul and Tokyo. It is considered to be an Airport City and aerotropolis. [4]

From 1993 to 2009, Memphis had the largest cargo operations by volume of any airport worldwide. Major national and international distribution facilities for Flextronics, Hewlett-Packard, Nike, Sharp and many others have located in Memphis largely to be near the FedEx hub.[5]

Memphis serves as a hub for Delta Air Lines, with routes to destinations throughout North America, as well as a daily nonstop flight to Amsterdam. However, on March 22, 2011, Delta announced plans to trim its Memphis hub by 25%, mostly eliminating flights to smaller destinations served by its regional affiliate Comair.[6]



Memphis Municipal Airport opened on a 200-acre (81 ha) plot of farmland just over seven miles (10 km) from downtown Memphis. During its early years, the airport consisted of three hangars and an unpaved runway. Passenger and air mail service was provided by American Airlines and Chicago and Southern Air Lines (acquired by Delta Air Lines in 1953). In 1939, four new carriers won route awards to serve Memphis: Braniff Airways, Capital Airlines, Eastern Air Lines, and Southern Airways.

During World War II the airfield was used by the United States Army Air Force Air Transport Command 4th Ferrying Group for movement of new aircraft from the United States to overseas locations.

Memphis Municipal Airport, 1962, photographed from the then-new control tower

The current terminal opened on June 7, 1963 and Memphis Municipal changed its name to Memphis International in 1969. However, the airport had no non-stop international routes until the 1980s, when Republic Airlines began service to Caribbean destinations. The airport had no non-stop inter-continental routes until KLM began service to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport. Currently, service to Amsterdam is operated by Delta.

Southern Airways became a major regional carrier at Memphis in the 1960s; it was acquired by Republic Airlines in 1979. Republic formally established Memphis as a network hub in 1985, one year before merging into Northwest Airlines in 1986.[7] In 2008, Delta Air Lines bought Northwest and rebranded the Memphis operation under the Delta name.

Federal Express (now FedEx Express) began operations in Memphis in 1973. It opened its current "SuperHub" facility on the north side of the airport in 1981.

Since 2009, the airport has also been a hub for small regional airline, SeaPort Airlines which provides single engine plane service to a number of communities in Arkansas through the Essential Air Service program. SeaPort Airlines is based out of the private aviation terminal not the main passenger terminal.[citation needed]

Facilities and aircraft

Memphis International Airport covers an area of 3,900 acres (1,600 ha) which contains four paved runways:[1]

  • Runway 18C/36C: 11,120 ft × 150 ft (3,389 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 18L/36R: 9,000 ft × 150 ft (2,743 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 18R/36L: 9,320 ft × 150 ft (2,841 m × 46 m), Surface: Concrete
  • Runway 9/27: 8,946 ft × 150 ft (2,727 m × 46 m), Surface: Asphalt.

Runway 9/27[8] reopened for traffic on 30 November 2009 after nine months of resurfacing. The new runway has a more durable concrete surface, and opened in time for the peak of the FedEx shipping season.

Old (left) and new (right) control tower at Memphis International Airport

For the 12-month period ending December 31, 2006, the airport had 392,883 aircraft operations, an average of 1,076 per day: 57% scheduled commercial, 34% air taxi, 9% general aviation, and <1% military. There are 110 aircraft based at this airport: 46% jet, 26% multi-engine, 19% single-engine, and 8% military.[1]

The Memphis Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) is located on the airport grounds at 3229 Democrat Road, TN 38118.

Terminals, airlines, and destinations

  • Terminal A contains 23 gates: A1-A12, A14, A16, A18-A21, A25, A27, A29, A31 and A33.[9]
  • Terminal B contains 42 gates: B1-B43 (B21 doesn't exist).[10] Terminal B serves all international arrivals and requires travelers to pass through a TSA security checkpoint after clearing customs. This is required because the customs hall exits into the concourse instead of the main lobby.
  • Terminal C contains 18 gates: C1-C5, C7-C11, C12A/C12B, C14A/C14B, C16, C18, C20 and C22.[11]
Airlines Destinations Terminal
Air Canada Express operated by
Jazz Air
Toronto-Pearson C
AirTran Airways Atlanta A
American Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth C
American Eagle Chicago-O'Hare, Miami C
Continental Express operated by ExpressJet Airlines Houston-Intercontinental, Newark C
Delta Air Lines Amsterdam, Atlanta, Detroit, Fort Lauderdale, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Little Rock, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New Orleans, New York-LaGuardia, Orlando, Salt Lake City, Seattle/Tacoma [ends January 4], Tampa, Washington-National
Seasonal: Cancún
Delta Connection operated by Atlantic Southeast Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore [ends January 4], Baton Rouge, Birmingham (AL), Boston, Charlotte, Cleveland, Columbus (MS), Dallas/Fort Worth, Denver, Des Moines, Evansville, Fayetteville (AR), Gulfport/Biloxi [ends January 4], Huntsville/Decatur, Jackson (MS), Jacksonville (FL), Little Rock, Mobile [ends January 4],[12] Monroe, Montgomery, Nashville, New Orleans, Newark, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Panama City (FL) [ends January 4], Pensacola, Phoenix, Shreveport, Springfield (MO), St. Louis, Tulsa, Washington-National A, B, C
Delta Connection operated by Chautauqua Airlines Columbus (OH), Louisville A, B
Delta Connection operated by Comair Atlanta, Baltimore [ends January 4], Boston, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Dallas/Fort Worth, Nashville, Philadelphia, Raleigh/Durham
Seasonal: Fort Myers
A, B
Delta Connection operated by Mesaba Airlines Austin, Baltimore [ends January 4], Boston, Columbus (MS), Denver, Detroit, Fort Smith, Greenville (MS), Hattiesburg/Laurel, Kansas City, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Muscle Shoals, New Orleans, Panama City (FL) [ends January 4], Philadelphia, Tampa, Tupelo
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Tampa
A, B
Delta Connection operated by Pinnacle Airlines Atlanta, Austin, Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky, Cleveland, Columbia (MO), Columbus (OH), Dallas-Love, Des Moines, Detroit, Fort Smith, Grand Rapids [ends January 4], Gulfport/Biloxi [ends January 4], Houston-Intercontinental, Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Knoxville, Lubbock, Milwaukee, Nashville, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, San Antonio, Wichita [ends January 4]
Seasonal: Appleton, Cedar Rapids, Evansville, Lincoln (NE)
A, B, C
Delta Connection operated by SkyWest Airlines Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, St. Louis, Wichita [ends January 4] B
United Express operated by Mesa Airlines Chicago-O'Hare C
United Express operated by SkyWest Airlines Chicago-O'Hare, Denver C
US Airways Charlotte C
US Airways Express operated by Mesa Airlines Charlotte C
US Airways Express operated by Republic Airlines Charlotte C

Private Terminal

SeaPort Airlines is based out of the Signature Air FBO.

Airlines Destinations
SeaPort Airlines El Dorado, Harrison, Hot Springs, Jonesboro, Kansas City

Top destinations

Busiest Domestic Routes from MEM (May 2010 - April 2011)[13]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Flag of Georgia (U.S. state).svg Atlanta, GA 450,000 AirTran, Delta
2 Flag of North Carolina.svg Charlotte, NC 201,000 Delta, US Airways
3 Flag of Minnesota.svg Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN 159,000 Delta
4 Flag of Illinois.svg Chicago, IL (ORD) 158,000 American, Delta, United
5 Flag of Texas.svg Dallas/Fort Worth, TX 154,000 American, Delta
6 Flag of Michigan.svg Detroit, MI 138,000 Delta
7 Flag of Florida.svg Orlando, FL 137,000 Delta
8 Flag of California.svg Los Angeles, CA 131,000 Delta
9 Flag of Nevada.svg Las Vegas, NV 124,000 Delta
10 Flag of Arizona.svg Phoenix, AZ 118,000 Delta

Cargo airlines

Airlines Destinations
FedEx Express Aguadilla, Albany (NY), Albuquerque, Allentown, Anchorage, Appleton (WI), Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings (MT), Birmingham, Bogota, Boise, Boston, Buffalo, Burbank, Calgary, Campinas-Viracopos, Casper (WY), Cedar Rapids, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chicago-O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cologne, Colorado Springs, Columbia (SC), Columbus (OH), Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dubai, Edmonton, El Paso, Flint, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Wayne, Grand Forks (ND), Grand Rapids, Great Falls (MT), Greensboro, Greenville (SC), Guadalajara, Harlingen (TX), Harrisburg, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston-Intercontinental, Huntington (WV), Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Knoxville, Lafayette (LA), Laredo (TX), Las Vegas, Los Angeles, London-Stansted, Louisville, Lubbock, Madison (WI), Manchester (NH), Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Miami, Mobile (AL), Monterrey, Montreal-Mirabel, Nashville, New York-JFK, Newark, Newburgh (NY), New Orleans, Norfolk, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario (CA), Orlando, Osaka-Kansai, Paris-Charles de Gaulle, Peoria (IL), Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Providence (RI), Raleigh/Durham, Reno, Richmond, Roanoke (VA), Rochester (MN), Rochester (NY), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San Juan (PR), Santa Ana (CA), Savannah (GA), Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul-Incheon, Shreveport, Sioux Falls, Spokane, Springfield (MO), St. Louis, Syracuse (NY), Tallahassee, Tampa, Toronto-Pearson, Tokyo-Narita, Toluca, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Washington-Dulles, West Palm Beach, Wichita (KS), Winnipeg
FedEx Feeder operated by Mountain Air Cargo Charleston (WV), Chattanooga, Huntsville, Tallahassee, Tulsa,


The 164th Airlift Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard is based at the co-located Memphis Air National Guard Base, operating the large C-5A transport aircraft.[14]

Accidents and incidents

  • On April 7, 1994 - FedEx Express Flight 705, that took off a few minutes before experienced an attempted hijacking. FedEx employee Auburn Calloway tried to hijack the plane, but the crew fought him off and returned to Memphis.
  • On August 11, 1984, Douglas C-47 N70003 of Aviation Enterprises crashed shortly after take-off from Memphis International Airport on a domestic non-scheduled passenger flight to O'Hare International Airport, Chicago. All three people on board were killed.[15] A missing spark plug on the port engine caused a loss of power. Maintenance involving the removal of the spark plugs had been performed the previous day.[16]


  1. ^ a b c FAA Airport Master Record for MEM (Form 5010 PDF), effective 2007-10-25
  2. ^ Memphis International Airport (official site)
  3. ^ [1][dead link]
  4. ^’s-aerotropolis-and-airport-city-receives-1-2-million/
  5. ^
  6. ^ Ben Mutzabaugh (March 22, 2011). "Delta: 25% cut in flights will make Memphis a better hub". USA Today. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Memphis Airport history". 1929-06-14. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  8. ^ "Memphis International Airport Notes". Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  9. ^ Terminal A map[dead link]
  10. ^ Terminal B map[dead link]
  11. ^ Terminal C map[dead link]
  12. ^ "Report: Delta Making More Cuts at MEM". Memphis Daily News. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  13. ^ "RITA | BTS | Transtats".,%20TN:%20Memphis%20International&carrier=FACTS. Retrieved 2011-11-08. 
  14. ^ TennANG 164th Airlift Wing Official Site. Accessed 22 Sep 07.
  15. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 
  16. ^ "NTSB Identification: ATL84FA251". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved 27 July 2010. 

External links

External images
Aircraft photos from Memphis International (MEM) at
FedEx Jets @ MEM Photo

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