Leaders to address issues at Memphis International Airport

(WMC-TV) - Leaders from around the country will meet in Memphis Thursday morning to discuss pricey airfares and other issues at Memphis International Airport.

The rise in airfare is not just a trend in Memphis but all over the country.

Seth Kaplan follows the airline industry with his publication Airline Weekly. He said the price spike in Memphis airfare is a big one and it's becoming a trend all over.

"They've gone up 20 percent in a year. That's a lot, but they've gone up almost everywhere," said Kaplan.  "In fact, they've gone up more in some places that have a whole lot of low cost competition."

Kaplan will be one of the panelists at the Memphis airport forum Thursday. He will be joined by Chip Barclay, president of the American Association of Airport Executives, Phillip Braden with the Federal Aviation Administration, Larry Cox, president of the Memphis Air Authority, John Moore, president of the Greater Memphis Chamber, and Kevin Kane, head of the Memphis Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Experts said one reason for the high costs in the Bluff City is because of non-stop flights, as compared to flights out of Little Rock or Nashville where there is usually a connecting flight involved.

Another hot button issue is flight competition.

"The reason there's not more competition because nobody can make money much lower than where fares are right now," explained Kaplan. "The idea that Southwest Airlines is going to show up in Memphis and start offering $19 fares to everywhere, that just doesn't happen anymore."

Action News 5 has learned that Delta Airlines will not be represented at the meeting.  The company has been under fire for their high fares.

The meeting is at 10:30 a.m. at Christian Brothers University and is open to the public.

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