Memphis Airport Unveils Updated Modernization Plan

MEMPHIS, Tenn. ( - The Memphis International Airport released its updated modernization plan Thursday morning, which is set to begin in 2018.

The goal of the modernization plan is a simple one.

"We want the front door, the first introduction to a passenger's arrival in this city to be something that's special. Something that's comfortable. Something that's attractive," says Pace Cooper, chairman of the Memphis - Shelby County Airport Authority.

The plan includes a fully redone concourse B with everything from higher ceilings to more natural lighting and wider corridors. The plan consolidates everything from airlines, to concessions and shops into the new concourse B. Officials say the move will be a boost for the airport's economy.

"Ultimately, having everyone in one huge B concourse is going to enable a concentration of concession activity where we know they can be successful," says Cooper.

The new concourse will also be uniquely Memphis, including a stage for live music in the rotunda.

"We want to feature our great companies, we want to feature our great art, we want to feature our great music," Cooper says.

The airport modernization plan is a multi-year project that's kind of like addition by subtraction. Everything is going to be consolidated into concourse B, but it will provide flyers with a better experience. These upgrades will affect your future flights, albeit in relatively minor ways.

The plan kicks off later this year with Delta and Allegiant moving out of concourse B to make way for new construction set to begin in 2018. That means all flights will be taking off out of concourses A and C until the plan is completed.

"As we move Allegiant to [concourse ]C, we move Delta to [concourse] A, with the origin and destination growth that we've seen, there's going to be over a million in plane passengers on each one of those concourses," says Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis - Shelby County Airport Authority.

Airport officials are confident concourses A and C can handle the extra passengers while concourse B is redone. Concourses A and C will essentially be retired once work is completed.

"That fully developed [concourse] B will handle about 5.5 million in plane passengers. I will tell you that was close to the totality of the hub when we were at our peak," says Brockman.

Officials say the fully renovated airport should be completed sometime in 2021. Day to day operations will not be impacted by the modernization plan.

For more on the complete modernization plane, click here.

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