Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority deals with departure of - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority deals with departure of chairman

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  • Jack Sammons accepts Memphis CAO position

    Jack Sammons accepts Memphis CAO position

    Tuesday, March 31 2015 8:10 AM EDT2015-03-31 12:10:41 GMT
    Tuesday, March 31 2015 7:16 PM EDT2015-03-31 23:16:18 GMT
    Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority chairman Jack Sammons will add the position of Memphis chief administrative officer to his resume for a second time.More >>
    Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority chairman Jack Sammons will add the position of Memphis chief administrative officer to his resume for a second time.More >>
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Roughly one month after Memphis International Airport announced its first increase in flights in four years, the man to whom some credit with the airport's resurgence is taking a job with City of Memphis. 

Airport Authority Chairman Jack Sammons announced Tuesday that he will accept a job as the city's next chief administrative officer, pending Memphis City Council approval next week. 

Airport leadership is pledging to maintain the forward momentum in 2015. But, travelers are afraid Memphis International Airport could return to the days when Delta first made Memphis a hub-- a time of pricier plane tickets and fewer flights.

"Are we going back to driving again and doing the long family trips that the kids do not want to do?" wondered traveler Deborah Lund.

Sammons says he hesitated before accepting the CAO job because many credit him with bringing more frequent, affordable air service.

"I expressed consternation about accepting this job because of the deep obligation I felt I had at the airport," he said.

However, Sammons says the Memphis mayor will add "special air service development envoy" to his CAO duties.

"It's a relationship business," explained Sammons. "I'm on a first-name basis with most of the decision makers at the major airlines and some of the smaller airlines."

Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority CEO Scott Brockman says the change could actually help the airport because they'll have an advocate in city hall.

Sammons still plans to attend board meetings, engage with staff, and meet with airline executives.

"When we would make presentations to airlines about Memphis, they remembered two things: Memphis and Jack Sammons," said Brockman. "He is just that much of an advocate for the city."

Sources say Sammons will likely keep the same duties as his unpaid board chair post, but without the title. Upon Sammons' official resignation, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell would appoint a replacement, but the board would have the final say in picking the new chairman.

"Our airport is still very much in transition and will be for the foreseeable future," said Luttrell. "So, I would hope they would select among their many talented people someone that has that same amount of commitment and enthusiasm."

Memphis City Council will discuss Sammons' position as CAO April 7. If he is approved, Sammons will fill the position on May 8.

Sammons will take a leave of absence from his Ampro hair products business in May, but will remain a part of the team organizing the FedEx St. Jude Gold Classic in June. 

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