The $245 million modernization project at Memphis International Airport is nearing completion. Airlines, restaurant and retail employees will conduct training for their staff in the coming weeks. (Photo: Tyrone P. Easley, The New Tri-State Defender)

Memphis International Airport (MEM) will open its modernized B concourse on February 15, with the first flight at the new concourse scheduled to be a Delta Air Lines flight arriving at 6:18 pm.

Departing flights will begin operations at the new concourse on February 16.

As the $245 million project nears completion, work continues on concessions, retail and airline operations space on the ground level. Airlines, restaurant and retail employees will also conduct training for their staff in the coming weeks.

Progress on the project has been slowed in recent months by COVID, workforce, and supply chain-related issues.

The multi-year project features the modernization of the spine and east leg of MEM’s B Concourse, as well as consolidation of all airline, retail and food/beverage operations. The redesign includes the addition of wider corridors, moving walkways, larger boarding areas, higher ceilings and increased natural lighting.

The project also includes much-needed seismic upgrades.

“This is an exciting day for MEM, Memphis and our passengers,” said Michael Keeney, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Board of Commissioners.

“We are truly reinventing the Memphis travel experience, and we can’t wait to welcome our passengers on February 15.”

Highlights

  • Higher ceilings
  • Larger gate areas and wider corridors
  • Moving walkways
  • Increased natural lighting
  • New and enhanced restaurant/retail options
  • Children’s play area
  • Stage for live music in Rotunda area
  • Additional lounge areas
  • Additional charging stations
  • New air-conditioned jet bridges
  • All-new art program that includes 61 different artworks representing 62 artists, all of which are from or connected to Memphis.

Construction details:

  • The stem and southeast leg of the B Concourse will be completely modernized and will house all airline, retail and restaurant operations.
  • The southwest leg will only be utilized for international arriving flights and was not redesigned during the first phase of modernization.
  • There will be 23 gates available to airlines, which can accommodate about 6 million passengers, about 50% more traffic than MEM’s pre-pandemic levels.
  • Continued long-term growth at MEM could facilitate another modernization phase for the west leg of the B Concourse, which contains about 15 more gates that could increase capacity to nearly 11 million annual passengers.
  • Ticketing/check-in will continue in the A, B and C Terminals.
  • Security screening is not anticipated to change and will primarily be consolidated to B, although a second security checkpoint at C will also be available for periods of heavy traffic.
  • The A and C concourses will be closed but will be retained for possible future use. The end of the C concourse will be removed to facilitate more efficient airline traffic to and from the B concourse.

Budget details

  • The modernization project and associated enabling projects are expected to cost approximately $245 million.
  • No local tax dollars will be used to fund the modernization project – the airport does not receive any local tax revenue.
  • Project funding will include general airport revenue bonds, state and federal grants, passenger facility charges (PFCs) and other Authority capital funds.

(Learn more about the modernization project at www.flymemphis.com/modernization.)