Memphis International Airport sees flight, passenger decline

(WMC-TV) – New numbers show that passenger traffic and flights are down at the Memphis International Airport. That is a different trend than the airports in Nashville and Little Rock are seeing.

The latest figures from April show that the Memphis airport continues to lose passengers and flights. Flights were down 22 percent compared to April of 2011. Total passengers were down more than 17 percent from last year.

In Nashville, total passengers were up more than 4 percent. In Little Rock, passenger traffic increased more than 10 percent.

"We need to do more than form a support group, we need to create a movement to change things," said Tom Jones with SmartCity Consulting.

Former government aide turned columnist Tom Jones also created a Facebook page to rant about Memphis airfares. It is called Delta Does Memphis.

"If we deregulated 30 years ago to increase competition and increase more airlines and it's gone just the other way, something isn't working," said Jones.

Jones, along with others who study trends in the airline industry, see lawmakers in Washington as potential problem solvers to a growing problem, not only in Memphis, but in other cities. Both Cincinnati and St. Louis are dealing with the same issues.

Congressman Steve Cohen, who sits on the transportation committee, insists competition from low cost carriers like Southwest can bring costs down quickly. He says it was a mistake to deregulate the airlines but does not expect congressional lawmakers to re-regulate anytime soon.

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