Modernizing Memphis: streamlining passenger flow


Memphis International Airport (MEM) has been modernized to streamline passenger flow, increase space and accommodate amenities. MEM Concourse B has been redesigned and is expected to be more efficient and result in a positive travel experience for passengers.

Concourse B opened on February 15, and the first flight into the new concourse was to be a Delta Air Lines flight arriving in the evening. On February 16, departing flights began operations in the new concourse.

Glen Thomas, director of strategic marketing and communications at MEM, says, “The total cost was $245 million. This is an “all-in” total, which includes additional design costs and related construction, such as jet deck upgrades on Concourses A and C that are required to accommodate additional air operations.

No local tax dollars were used to fund the project, as the airport receives no local tax revenue. The airport’s website says funding for the project will include general airport tax obligations, state and federal grants, passenger facility fees and other capital funds from authorities.

The new features

MEM is 150 miles from the New Madrid seismic zone, so the redesign of Concourse B provided an opportunity to add seismic mitigation. Other features include higher ceilings, larger door areas and wider hallways, moving walkways, increased natural lighting, improved dining and retail options, additional charging stations and walk-through bridges. air-conditioned reaction.

When it comes to sustainability, the new design includes the use of smart windows, which reduces the need for additional light fixtures. They also maintain the temperature in hot weather, while the white reflective roof materials also help the building stay cool in the summer.

The amount of paper products needed in washrooms has been reduced by installing air dryers at every faucet. Additionally, old light bulbs have been recycled and the lobby is lit entirely with LEDs, while new energy-efficient HVAC units have been introduced.

“We would expect other airports to incorporate features for the modern traveler, such as device outlets and charging at every seat and increased use of contactless technology,” says Thomas.

There are also additional seating areas with power connections and surface charging capabilities. There is a new military lounge, which is open to retired and active duty military. The living room includes seating areas, workstations and a meeting table.

Fairs and portals

The St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Patient Lounge is located at MEM. The lounge will be made available to hospital patients and their families. It has seating areas, a kitchen and TVs. The lobby also includes a pet restroom for service animals.

An art program at the airport includes 61 works of art and there is a hanging sculpture at the southeast end of the concourse. There are three original paintings printed on glass, using ceramic ink, in the restroom waiting areas and a mural at the lobby entrance/exit. Rotating parts can be seen near each restroom waiting area.

“The main challenge was the pandemic. Like many other businesses around the world, the airport has experienced supply chain, personnel and Covid-19 related issues which have at times slowed the project down,” says Thomas.

There are 23 gates available to airlines, capable of handling around 6 million passengers, or about 50% more traffic than the airport’s pre-pandemic levels. The security check will mainly take place in Hall B.

Ticketing and check-in will continue to take place in Terminals A, B and C. MEM is now focused on planning the upgrade of its baggage and ticketing areas, with preliminary plans in place.

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