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'Momentum clearly going in right direction' | Memphis International Airport celebrates busiest month since before pandemic

July passenger travel was at the highest since December 2019, and the positive trends played a role in the airport landing new non-stop flight options.

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — "There's just been an increase in travel overall. The TSA lines are a lot longer," Kerra Li - a frequent flier out of Memphis International Airport - said Wednesday.

Li said she's noticed a lot more foot traffic - and rolling luggage - in recent weeks.

"In January or March, it was completely dead I think. And then recently it's been crazy; really long lines, really fully planes. Every seat has been taken," Li added.

Her observations are supported by the facts, as data showed MEM with its busiest passenger travel month since December 2019, pre-pandemic.

"Our momentum is clearly going in the right direction and I think what you are seeing is airlines reacting to demand," Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority President Scott Brockman said.

Airport leaders also said July checkpoint traffic increased 155% compared to last July. TSA checkpoint traffic this year has outpaced the national average compared to 2019, and last week marked the 12th straight of more than 40,000 passengers.

The positive trends played a role in Tuesday's announcement of a new Frontier Airlines non-stop flight to Miami and the return of a Delta Airlines non-stop to New York La Guardia in September.

"Markets are starting to change to put things in more of an demand schedule rather than a fixed schedule basis, and I think that bodes well for a market like Memphis," Brockman added.

More passengers out of Memphis also means more revenue for the airport, and that will keep ongoing renovations on schedule or accelerated.

"The good news is we'll be able to do more. We'll be able to advance more of our projects. We'll be able to advance more of the operational improvements we want to make," Brockman said.

Memphis Airport leaders - who are also on the Shelby County COVID-19 Joint Task Force - are hopeful the current surge with the Delta variant will stabilize at the end of the month and not significantly impact fall travel.


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