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DIESELPOLO Jan 11, 2010 2:33 AM

Hi forumers,

I am utterly impressed with Memphis' new developments. Especially as it appears that the city is really setting the stage for sustained development by having a burgeoning healthcare industry which attracts the educated (the ideal demographic for any city).

After looking at the developments and the emerging architecture, I wanted to know a couple things: How dense is downtown, are these medical campuses research institutes in walkable neighborhoods, how has downtown's evolution or maintenance been since the late 90's, do you know how important Memphis is becoming within the medical industry?

Thanks for any answers! Haven't been down for probably 10 years! My mother is from there.

Johnny Ryall Jan 13, 2010 2:52 AM


Originally Posted by DIESELPOLO (Post 4644075)
Hi forumers,

I am utterly impressed with Memphis' new developments. Especially as it appears that the city is really setting the stage for sustained development by having a burgeoning healthcare industry which attracts the educated (the ideal demographic for any city).

After looking at the developments and the emerging architecture, I wanted to know a couple things: How dense is downtown, are these medical campuses research institutes in walkable neighborhoods, how has downtown's evolution or maintenance been since the late 90's, do you know how important Memphis is becoming within the medical industry?

Thanks for any answers! Haven't been down for probably 10 years! My mother is from there.

Memphis may be one of the only cities in the U.S. that is ranked economically above the national average in 4 of the 5 major sectors of biotechnology. Hospitals, Clinics & other high-end practices are 1 of those major sectors. The projects previously featured were all located in the Memphis Medical Center (adjacent to Downtown & a component of the Central Business District).
Although, just as always, Memphis seems to have a major counterpart in its other major commercial markets. These include the Wolf River Medical Corridor in eastern Memphis which is home to Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporate Headquarters & their flagship hospital which includes the Baptist Heart Institute. Also, it contains Medical Plaza towers 1,2 & 3, Baptist Hospital for Women, the West Clinic/ Memphis Heart Clinic, Baptist Cancer Care Clinic, Semmes Murphy Coporate Offices, Campell Clinic (world- renowned Orthopaedics practice & research), the 15 story tower of St. Francis Hospital with it's renovated & expanded ER & Chest Pain Center (also a new location in Bartlett being expanded!), a myriad of other high-end practices all over the vicinity and the major expansion of Methodist Germantown.

Baptist Memorial Healthcare Corporate Headquarters @ Humphreys Center in East Memphis' Wolf River Medical Corridor
194,000-square-foot, five-story masonry and ribbon glass building

If all that wasn't enough, now we have the emerging Southaven/ Desoto Medical Center. Its' centerpiece is the new major expansion of Baptist Desoto, now the second largest in the Baptist Memorial system. I'll stop there for now, but there is much more to Memphis when it comes to biotechnology.

Baptist Memorial Hospital Desoto, Expansion Tower /Renevation of ER, $175,000,000
The new 11 story tower, which opened Nov. 5, 2006, added 140 beds, bringing the bed total at the Southaven facility to 339. The number makes Baptist-DeSoto (412,000 SF) second in size only to Baptist-Memphis within the Baptist system.

Previous Expansions:
December 2002 was the opening of the Baptist DeSoto Outpatient Diagnostic Center and Women's Center.
In 2001, Baptist DeSoto completed three expansion projects that nearly doubled the size of the hospital and added much-needed services. A new critical care unit opened on Valentine's Day and brought open-heart surgery to DeSoto County for the first time ever. In April, the hospital's labor and delivery services expanded with the opening of the 34,000-square-foot Women's Pavilion. And DeSoto County's first radiation oncology unit, the Baptist Center for Cancer Care-DeSoto, opened in December.

391 Southcrest / Baptist DeSoto Campus, Southaven, MS
Class A Medical Office Building Size:58,036 SF

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:29 PM

The rise of America's Aerotropolis
Memphis Aerotropolis: Cleared For Take Off

In August 2006, Memphis I'ntl Airport (MEM) jetted into a multiphase, $300,000,000+ construction program designed to not only upgrade & facilitate operations at the WORLD's BUSIEST CARGO AIRPORT, but also freshen it up a bit. MEM produces $28,600,000,000 for the local economy each year. It is home to the FedEx Express World Hub & UPS's 3rd largest facility. MEM Air Traffic Control directs over 1,000 aircraft operations per day.

New Air Traffic Control Tower (U/C) $61,000,000
Due to significant air traffic growth over the past 30 years, combined with traffic density and complexity continuing to increase at Memphis International, the existing control tower must be replaced to meet the activity demands and working-space needs. The current tower was commissioned in 1977.The new tower will stand 336 feet tall which is approximately 150 feet taller than the current tower.

Memphis International Airport - Y Modification

Roadway Entrance & Landscaping Project

Reconstruction of Runway 9/27

Seven-story Parking Garage & Rental Car Facility

Built on the North -or "front"- side of the airport, the lower 2 levels will house car rental companies, and the remaining floors will contain 4,500 long-term parking spaces. The garage will connect to the terminal by canopy-covered, moving sidewalks on the lowest level.

Also in progress:
Main Terminal Aircraft Parking Apron Replacement Study.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:42 PM

Memphis airport reopens repaired runway
By Wayne Risher

Memphis International Airport's east-west runway reopened a nine-month reconstruction costing about $50 million. The Airport Authority made good on a promise to reopen the runway in time for FedEx's holiday shipping season. The 8,946-foot-long strip on the northern end of the airfield had been closed since March 2009 as contractors ripped out old asphalt and replaced it with a 20-inch deep, 150-foot-wide layer of concrete. While it was out of service, planes were limited to three north-south runways.

The first plane to take off from and land on the rebuilt runway was a Beechcraft Bonanza A36, single-engine propeller-driven plane piloted by Airport Authority board member and auto dealer Jim Keras. Authority president and CEO Larry Cox and board members Jim Ethridge and Jon Thompson rode with Keras on a flight to West Memphis and back.

The airport is home to the FedEx World Hub, center of shipping network that hit last year's daily peak of 13 million packages on Dec. 14. Spokesman Jim McCluskey said FedEx representatives were on hand for the first takeoff and landing, and the company's cargo planes were expected to start using the runway again Monday night. "We're very pleased with the opening of the runway," he said. "We will begin using the runway this evening, both inbound and outbound. It will allow us to increase our arrival rate, which makes us more efficient than we already are." The runway's new concrete surface is expected to last at least 25 years and perhaps 40 to 50 years, considerably longer than asphalt.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:46 PM

Previously (2006)
Memphis International Airport Flying High: Named a Gateway Hub to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Best Northwest Hub in 2005.
Memphis International Airport is now a gateway airport. This means certain pre-cleared general aviation operations, including corporate aircraft, charter flights and on-demand operations can fly directly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) from Memphis.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) only allows general aviation flights in accordance with the DCA Access Standard Security Program into DCA. The program was developed last year. It allows up to 48 general aviation flights into DCA per day and addresses the special aviation security needs in the National Capitol Region by maintaining strict security measures. Each flight requires advance notification, including background checks for all passengers and criminal history checks for crew members. Memphis International Airport is one of just 15 airports nationwide with gateway clearance.

Memphis International Airport also has been named “best Northwest hub in 2005” by Northwest Airlines ground operations as part of the annual recognition the department gives to stations for outstanding performance each year. The assessment of station performance is based on critical measures of safety, operational reliability, customer service and budget.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:49 PM

Hub Expansion on horizon for FedEx
ERIC SMITH | The Daily News

At the FedEx World Hub, 15,000 employees greet thousands of flights and sort millions of packages each month, making it the heart and soul of the Memphis economy. Those impressive numbers could soon grow now that FedEx Express has taken its first step toward a major hub expansion. FedEx has filed a $28 million building permit with the city-county Office of Construction Code Enforcement to bring a new two-story sort facility to its existing hub at 2903 Sprankle Drive, on the north side of Memphis International Airport and south of Democrat Road. The addition would expand current capacity at FedEx’s hub, the oldest and largest in its massive global network, which sees five sorts and 1.5 million packages per day while connecting Memphis with every one of FedEx’s markets. But how much the addition would expand FedEx’s package sorting ability remains to be seen. Jim McCluskey, spokesman for FedEx, said he couldn’t provide any specific details about the expansion plan because no contracts had been executed, but should the company decide to move forward with the project, the new facility would be built adjacent to the existing hub structure. “We are planning a new building addition to our existing sort facility,” McCluskey said. “But because the project is many months down the road, and no contracts have been executed, it’s premature to provide details until we have contracts in place.”

Bluff City value
Even the news of a potential expansion is welcome in Memphis, which saw FedEx recently pump more than $200 million into upgrading and enlarging its Indianapolis hub while beefing up other facilities around the nation as well. Dexter Muller, the Greater Memphis Chamber’s senior vice president for community development and logistics council director, said this expansion is further proof the company sees strategic value in growing its Memphis infrastructure. “When FedEx was investing in other hubs, like Indianapolis and Greensboro (N.C.), and Forth Worth (Texas), some people questioned, ‘Well, does this mean they don’t have as strong a commitment to Memphis?’ Clearly, that’s not the case. This is evidence of that,” Muller said. “Their three-continent hub strategy is evidence of that. Memphis is still their global distribution headquarters, and obviously it’s a real important piece for us to see them continue to invest in that.” FedEx’s “three-continent hub strategy” revolves around Memphis International Airport for North America, Charles De Gaulle International Airport in Paris for Europe and Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport in China for Asia. Each one of those airports and their cities are considered as the premier aerotropolis for their respective continent. And in the Memphis region, the airport is especially vital to overall commercial prosperity. “From the logistics standpoint, we talk about our airport as being the largest single economic generator in the state – it has more impact than some of the much larger airports from a passenger side,” Muller said.

‘Encouraging note’
Muller specifically was alluding to airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which dwarfs Memphis when it comes to passenger traffic but lags in terms of cargo and overall economic impact. Memphis International Airport generates $28.6 billion and provides, directly or indirectly, 34.3 percent – or one in three – local jobs. And the most recent traffic numbers show FedEx is by far the biggest single contributor to Memphis International’s stellar performance. The airport handled 669.8 million pounds of cargo last month, up 4.9 percent from 638.7 million in November 2008. Almost all of that tonnage was handled by FedEx, whose contributions have helped Memphis earn the honor of world’s busiest cargo airport for 17 straight years, according to Airports Council International. In fact, Memphis has ranked No. 1 in the world since the organization began ranking cargo statistics.

Though McCluskey said the purpose of filing the permit was the first step in what could be a long process, the fact the company has the wheels in motion is a positive sign for the company. “Any kind of property development plan takes a lot of time; it’s a very lengthy process,” McCluskey said, adding that the few details included on the permit are subject to change. “That’s why we can’t provide information or details until we have the contracts in place.” McCluskey said more details would become available “down the road” as the company gets contracts in place. Still, the writing is on the wall that more space to employ more workers, welcome more flights and sort more packages will be needed when the economy improves. “That’s an encouraging note to see them investing at this time,” Muller said.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:52 PM

2009 passenger counts up at Pinnacle subsidiaries
Memphis Business Journal

Colgan Air Inc. and Pinnacle Airlines Inc., wholly-owned subsidiaries of Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ: PNCL), both ended the year with higher passenger counts than 2008 despite different December performances.

Colgan reported 211,636 passengers for December, down 1.5 percent compared to 214,816 in December last year. Year-to-date, Colgan reported 2.7 million passengers, up 6.7 percent compared to 2.5 million passengers in the same year-ago period.

Colgan is in the middle of moving its corporate headquarters from Manassas, Va. to Memphis.

Pinnacle Airlines Inc. reported 867,612 passengers for December, up 0.2 percent compared to 866,033 passengers in December 2008. Year-to-date, the company reported 10.7 million passengers, up 3.6 percent compared to 10.3 million in the same year-ago period.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:53 PM

Memphis airport unveils ‘green’ plans for transportation center
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

The Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority unveiled its $89 million Ground Transportation Center Wednesday at the Memphis Hilton. The seven-story facility at Memphis International Airport will house parking and rental car operations within walking distance of the main terminal. Self Tucker Architects Inc., Looney Ricks Kiss Architects Inc. and Walker Parking Consultants are designing the facility while Flintco Inc. is the general contractor. By eliminating bus and shuttle traffic between the facility and the terminal, like most airports, it will reduce emissions.

“Some airports have parking garages,” authority chairman Arnold Perl said. “We will not have a parking garage; we’ll have a ground transportation center.” The center, which will be located between the existing three-level parking deck and the new 336-foot airport traffic control tower, will have 4,500 public parking spaces and 2,500 return spaces for rental cars. Levels one and two will house the rental car services, with room for 124 rental agents. The center will have valet parking, as well as additional services such as auto detailing and oil changes. Construction will start in early March is expected to take two years. The center will also have covered canopies and an 840-foot moving walkway leading to the terminal.

The airport authority is working with UrbanArt Commission on public art at the site, which will have extensive landscaping. “The Ground Transportation Center will be not only be very pleasing to the eye, highly functional and customer-centric, it is also the most environmentally responsible approach to ground transportation possible,” said Larry Cox, the authority’s president and chief executive officer. “This center eliminates all rental buses, reduces needs for virtually all remote parking buses, and saves the rental car companies the expense of transporting their customers off the airport. “When you combine it with our cell phone parking lot and the improved overall entrance and exit flow, we will be eliminating a tremendous amount of traffic exhaust from the airport experience."

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:55 PM

FedEx rolls out Boeing 777F for Memphis-Shanghai service
Memphis Business Journal

FedEx Express is rolling out its first Boeing 777 Freighter to service mainland China. The larger, faster and more fuel efficient 777F will connect Shanghai with Memphis and reduce cut-off times for customers by two hours, the company said. By April, FedEx Express will have four 777F’s serving routes between the U.S. and the important Asian market. They hope to have as many as 15 of the planes in service by 2014. The 777F has a payload capacity of 178,000 pounds and flies about 5,800 nautical miles, an improvement of 14,000 pounds and 2,100 nautical miles over the MD11-Fs, which was FedEx’s long-haul aircraft. “With the 777F’s shorter flight times, our operational advantages give our customers a competitive advantage in the global marketplace through speed and reliability,” David L. Cunningham Jr., president, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express, stated in a release. “In addition, the 777F is able to deliver these benefits while helping FedEx build a more sustainable operation in the long term through its fuel efficiency and reduced emissions.”

FedEx Express is the express transportation subsidiary of Memphis-based FedEx Corp. (NYSE: FDX) and provides delivery across the U.S. and to more than 220 countries and territories. FedEx’s chief rival, Atlanta-based United Parcel Service Inc., announced its own Chinese growth news Thursday. UPS will expand its global service parts logistics network, opening 101 new field stocking locations in China, according to a report by Memphis Business Journal sister publication Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:56 PM

Pinnacle Airlines secures $10M from Independent Bank
Memphis Business Journal

Pinnacle Airlines Corp. closed on a $10 million credit facility with Memphis-based Independent Bank. "The loan provides a working capital cushion and allows us to focus on our core business," Pinnacle president Philip H. Trenary said in a statement. The loan is designed to provide the Memphis-based airline holding company with additional working capital until it receives its 2009 federal income tax refund, estimated to be $38 million.

Separately, Pinnacle also modified its $25 million spare parts loan to reduce certain liquidity requirements. "These transactions enhance our liquidity and put us in a stronger financial position for 2010," Peter D. Hunt, vice president and chief financial officer at Pinnacle, said in a statement. Memphis-based Pinnacle Airlines Corp. (NASDAQ: PNCL) is the parent company of Pinnacle Airlines Inc. and Colgan Air Inc.

Johnny Ryall Jan 22, 2010 4:59 PM

Memphis airport officials unveil plans for ground transportation center
The Commercial Appeal | By Wayne Risher

This illustration shows the Memphis International Airport Ground Transportation Center that will be built starting in March.
Photo courtesy of the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority

Airport officials unveiled plans Wednesday for a new ground transportation center that amounts to a new front door for Memphis International Airport. They said the center, which combines passenger parking and rental cars next to the terminal building, will create a dramatic and attractive new first impression for people entering the airport by way of ground transportation. The seven-level center will be sheathed with perforated metal panels, reminiscent of a large airplane wing. It will be accented by screened lighting and adorned with a 40-foot-tall airport logo: a jet with a contrail shaped like a musical note. Most of the 1960s terminal building, with its distinctive champagne glass design by architect Roy Harrover, will no longer be visible from the entrance road.

This illustration shows a walkway and courtyard in the planned Memphis International Airport Ground Transportation Center, which will be constructed starting in March. Photo courtesy of the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority.

"Memphis is transportation and Memphis is music, so it makes perfect sense," said Convention and Visitors Bureau president Kevin Kane, who joined business and community leaders for an unveiling of project plans and renderings at Hilton Memphis. "I think the design is spectacular. It has that classic modern look you're beginning to see at world-class airports around the world," Kane added. Architect Marty Gorman, president of Memphis Heritage, had a different reaction. "The classic terminal building, with its strong axial automobile approach, is totally blocked by this seven story behemoth! Most unfortunate," Gorman said in an e-mail. Available land and functionality dictated the new building would become the airport's most visible entry feature, along with a 336-foot-tall air traffic control tower that's under construction.

Airport officials wanted to combine passenger parking and rental cars in one building to save on construction costs and eliminate shuttle busing for rental car users. The logical spot for the building was a long-term parking lot between the existing three-level parking deck and the control tower. "Great care has been taken to make this a highly attractive facility, the nation's most functional and passenger-centric facility, a green approach to ground transportation and a complement to the existing airport infrastructure," said Airport Authority president and CEO Larry Cox. The center will house rental car counters, service functions and up to 1,250 rental cars on the bottom two floors. There will be 4,500 public spaces for passenger parking on the upper five floors. A landscaped, atrium-like corridor with sidewalks and moving walkways will connect the new building to the terminal, where escalators will lead up to the baggage claim level. Flintco Inc. has an $89.4 million contract to build the center, starting in March and finishing in 2012. Authority chairman Arnold Perl said, "The new Ground Transportation Center will transform the experience for the traveling public. It will further enhance the customer service experience, which ranks third already according to J.D. Powers for medium-sized airports." Greater Memphis Chamber chairman Tom Schmitt applauded the focus on customer service and said he thinks it will give the airport a second "wow factor" architecturally, in addition to the terminal building. "I like it. It projects the right image and it's looking forward. It's making something that works already, even better."

Johnny Ryall Jan 23, 2010 7:06 PM

The rise of America's Aerotropolis: New Air Traffic Control Tower topped off
Commercial Appeal | Wayne Risher

The last structural piece of a 336-foot-tall tower -- a platform decorated with a Christmas tree, American flag, contractor Flintco Inc.'s logo and an Iron Workers Local union banner -- was lifted into place shortly after 11 a.m. A radar and antennas will be installed atop the tower in mid- January, bringing it to finished height. It will be one of the tallest in the country; in the South, only the airports in Atlanta (398 feet) and Orlando (345 feet) have taller towers. The 24,000-square-foot building attached to the base of the tower will house training rooms, administrative offices and an expanded terminal radar approach control with space for future growth.

The tower and an adjoining radar control building are scheduled to be commissioned in early 2011. Featuring seismic safeguards and the latest security and air traffic simulation capabilities, the new tower is 150 feet south and 100 feet west of a 185-foot tower that has been in service since 1977. It will provide air traffic controllers better views of the airport's farthest reaches. The existing tower will be torn down to complete the project, bringing total cost to about $72 million, the FAA says.

Gusting winds delayed the topping off just over an hour from the scheduled time. Flintco, the general contractor, waited for wind speed to drop before a crane operated by Barnhart Crane & Rigging hoisted the tower's "penthouse," steadied by two guide ropes. Flintco built the two-level, 850-square-foot tower cab on the ground to make sure the components fit together properly before they were disassembled and lifted into place section by section.

Progress of the tower's construction can be viewed via a live camera at:

childsplay04 Jan 23, 2010 7:42 PM

I am from Memphis but live in Atlanta now...thanks for posting these it keeps me updated with what is goin on back home...

Dr Nevergold Jan 23, 2010 11:27 PM

I lived in Memphis in 2001/2002 and it was an interesting experience, the airport always felt groovy from the 70's or something... Glad to see its finally getting a freshen up. MEM is a fine airport for what it is, the on time performance is fantastic, but its always had very small interiors and therefore feels a little stuffy by comparison. They needed this upgrade.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 2:14 AM

Memphis College of Art: Metz Hall recap
Metz Hall @ Memphis College Of Art, 24,000 sq ft (completed 2005)

New residence hall is part of the larger master plan for Memphis College of Art which enables them to house 47 more students.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 2:15 AM

MCA's new residence hall rises in Midtown
the Commercial Appeal | By Juanita Cousins

The Memphis College of Art is enlarging its campus footprint with a $3.3 million student residence hall and three residential properties. An artist rendering of Memphis College of Art's Metz Hall and the new dormitory space.
at 139 N. Barksdale in Midtown. The building will be a mirror image of the Metz Hall residence structure, which was built in 2004. MCA President Jeffrey Nesin said the student residences help "build community among students."

The 24,000-square-foot facility will house 47 students on three floors of apartment-like suites, said the project's lead architect Rebecca Conrad, a partner at Askew Nixon Ferguson. Each suite will have four bedrooms, two baths, a full kitchen and laundry amenities. The fourth floor will have a studio, activity space and warming kitchen, which the college can use for special functions. The dorm is scheduled for completion in fall 2010. "It's just helping the campus further its identity on making it more visible in this community," Conrad said.

Last summer, Memphis College of Art spent $250,000 on three Midtown properties: two residential buildings on Tucker Street that now house 10 students, and a Rembert Street property that will eventually provide additional residential housing. Nesin said the independent art and design college set in Overton Park has thrived despite a slumping economy. Its Design for the Future Capital Campaign raised $8 million. The money will be used to increase scholarships, create a technology-driven curriculum, increase the school's endowment and build the Barksdale Street dorm. When Nesin became president in 1991, the campus had no student residential housing. Since then the college has acquired some 20 properties south of Poplar Avenue and built housing for more than 160 students.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 2:20 AM

Memphis College of Art developing graduate school Downtown
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

Memphis College of Art is looking to move its graduate school Downtown to the South Main Historic Arts District. MCA plans to purchase and renovate a five-story building at 477 S. Main for $2.9 million where it will develop the school serving more than 100 graduate students and faculty. Plans for the building include more than 55,000 square feet of educational space and a 3,500-square-foot retail storefront gallery.

The college is going before the Center City Development Corp. Wednesday morning to seek financial incentives, including a $180,000 development loan, a $40,000 retail forgivable loan and a $30,000 facade improvement grant. It will also ask the CCDC board for a $200,000 project development grant. If approved, the project could start in February and be completed by the fall. MCA's graduate program is currently housed in its Midtown campus, at 1930 Poplar Avenue.

Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects will design the project while Montgomery Martin Contractors LLC will be the general contractor. The board will also hear from lawyers T. Clifton Harviel, Barry J. McWhirter, Arthur E. Quinn and Michael J. Stengel who plan to open a 2,668-square-foot office at Lincoln America Tower.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 3:51 PM

Air Canada to add Memphis-Toronto flights
Memphis Business Journal

Air Canada will begin serving Memphis International Airport with a twice-daily flight between the Bluff City and Toronto. The airline announced its expansion plans Wednesday, which include new service to a total of seven U.S. cities: Memphis; San Diego and Santa Ana, Calif.; Portland, Ore.; Portland, Maine.; Cincinnati; and Syracuse, N.Y. "This additional service to seven more U.S. cities further solidifies Air Canada's position as the leading transborder carrier between Canada and the U.S. and the No. 1 foreign carrier flying to the United States — offering the most flights per day to more destinations in the U.S. than any other international airline," said Ben Smith, executive vice president, in a statement. The airline’s Memphis flights will commence May 17 using 75-seat CRJ aircraft. Montreal-based Air Canada provides scheduled and charter air transportation for passengers and cargo to more than 170 destinations on five continents. The carrier is the 13th largest commercial airline in the world and serves 33 million customers annually.

Johnny Ryall Jan 28, 2010 3:55 PM

Memphis now new Air Canada market
Nonstop to Toronto

ERIC SMITH | The Daily News

Air Canada will begin direct service between Memphis and Toronto in May. It will use the 75-seat Jazz CRJ airplane, smaller than the Boeing 787-800 Dreamliner and 777-200LR, shown above. Photo: Air Canada

As carriers reduce capacity to cope with shrinking demand for air travel, Air Canada is beefing up its service by entering seven U.S. markets – including Memphis. The Montreal-based airline is adding twice-daily, nonstop, year-round flights between Memphis and Toronto, the company announced Wednesday. The service, which begins May 17 and will connect Memphis International Airport with Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport, is the airline’s Memphis debut. Air Canada will use the 75-seat Jazz CRJ airplane.

“It’s good for us, it’s good for the traveling public,” said Larry Cox, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Cox said Wednesday morning the announcement was news to him, albeit “great news.” He said the airport had been in discussions with Air Canada over the years but hadn’t been able to secure anything until now. Cox said Northwest Airlines previously flew a Memphis-to-Toronto flight, but that was dropped following the merger with Delta Air Lines, which now flies to the Canadian city from here through Detroit or Minneapolis. “We miss not having the nonstop to Toronto, and I think it’s great that Air Canada can serve it,” Cox said. “This is the reason Air Canada probably sees an opportunity to get into the Memphis market for the first time, because Delta flying in that market, it would be more difficult for them to compete because they’d just be able to get the ‘O and D’ (origination and destination) market on this side going to Toronto.” This announcement further bolsters the airport’s status for international service, Cox said. Currently, Memphis has daily nonstop flights to Amsterdam, Cancun, Mexico, and Montego Bay, Jamaica. The airport also has seasonal service to Cozumel, Mexico, and to Vancouver, British Columbia.

Vicki Rush, CEO of A&I Travel Service Inc., said Air Canada hasn’t entered the flights into the air travel system yet, but she nonetheless was excited with the news, calling it “fabulous.” “I think new service into the market is always a great thing,” Rush said. “You’re always looking for that to bring some prices down. I think that the main point with anyone, especially a carrier who has no footprint here – Air Canada – is what kind of equipment is it? Who’s their frequent flyer partner? Those are huge issues.” As Rush pointed out, Air Canada’s frequent flyer network is Star Alliance, whose U.S. airlines include Continental Airlines, United Airlines and US Airways, but not Delta, which operates a hub in Memphis and uses SkyTeam as its frequent flyer network. “If all things are equal, if the price is the same on Delta and Air Canada, it’s going to be hard for them to woo customers, I’m afraid,” Rush said, adding that passengers would forego nonstop if they get to accrue frequent flyer miles. “Nonstop is a wonderful thing, but it’s 800 miles each way.”

Air Canada also is adding service between Toronto and six other U.S. markets – Orange County, Calif.; San Diego; Portland, Ore.; Cincinnati; Portland, Maine; and Syracuse, N.Y. “This additional service to seven more U.S. cities further solidifies Air Canada’s position as the leading transborder carrier between Canada and the U.S. and the No. 1 foreign carrier flying to the United States – offering the most flights per day to more destinations in the U.S. than any other international airline,” Ben Smith, Air Canada’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. “It also demonstrates our commitment to drive Toronto’s growth as a hub.” Pamela Griffith-Jones, vice president, chief marketing and commercial officer for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA), called the route announcement “great news for passengers flying between Canada and the U.S.” “We have worked with our airline customers’ needs in mind to create opportunities for route expansion,” Griffith-Jones said in a release. “We are very pleased with Air Canada’s continued commitment to using Pearson as a connection point with the U.S., and as a gateway to connect passengers to destinations around the world.”

Johnny Ryall Jan 29, 2010 8:39 PM

FedEx to invest nearly $6 Million on hanger construction at Memphis airport
Memphis Business Journal - by Andy Ashby

The Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority’s lone actionable item this month helped a Memphis-based company to improve its operations at Memphis International Airport. The authority modified a lease agreement with FedEx Express, allowing the company to demolish four hangers and replace those with a $4.2 million, 35,000-square-foot hanger. It’s also planning to do a $1.6 million rehabilitation of three other hangers. The lease modification calls for rent reductions on the land for the new construction and rehabilitation of the hangers, which are used for smaller aircraft. The authority is also taking bids for improvements to two taxiways in February.

Forrest Artz, director of finance and chief financial officer for the authority, reported the airport had $9.4 million in revenues for December and $56.4 million in revenues for full-year 2009. After expenses, it had net income of $173,765 for December and net income of $1.9 million for full-year 2009. The authority also reported the airport flew 781,251 passengers in December, down 3.8 percent compared to 811,865 in December 2008. Similarly, the airport flew 9.8 million passengers in full-year 2009, a decrease of more than 6 percent compared to 10.5 million in full-year 2008.

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