$31.8 million grant awarded to Memphis airport

Memphis International Airport will soon see improvements

(WMC-TV) - Millions of dollars are on the way to Memphis International Airport thanks to a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration.

The money will be used to make the airport more efficient and improve security.

One of the changes you will see because of the FAA's $31.8 million grant will affect runway security.

At the news conference, airport officials said crews will build what is called an Engineered Material Arresting System.

"This system will, if an airplane goes too far off the runway, this material will keep it from, it will slow down so that it will safely stop and not have a bad situation," said Larry Cox, Memphis Airport Authority.

The safety system is popular in larger airports around the country.

"So the safety portion the ends of the runways will be secured so that there is less of a likely hood of any airplane going off the runway," said U.S. Congressman Steve Cohen.

Congressman Steve Cohen is on the aviation subcommittee. He joined Airport Authority President Larry Cox in making the grant announcement.

They say some of the money will also be used to beef up security and affect everything from access systems to close circuit TV monitoring stations.

"This is used for in order to protect and insure that you don't have people going to parts of the airport that they shouldn't go," said Cox.

The FAA grant is also expected to pay for a major upgrade to aircraft parking.

Additional work will be done to aging areas where planes park.

The multimillion dollar grant is expected to make Memphis International Airport more competitive, while at the same time, create a number of construction jobs.

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