MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - While the aviation industry is still struggling to get back on its feet during this pandemic, the Memphis International Airport is showing a quicker bounce-back compared to national numbers.
To usher in a new era of traveling, its new concourse is on track to open on time. For years we’ve only seen renderings of what new Concourse B will look like after the project is done, but now you can see that project coming to life for yourself.
From the Mezzanine rooftop of the Memphis International Airport the focal point of the airport’s modernization project are the top to bottom windows.
It’s a feature MEM’s Glen Thomas said is a must in a modern airport.
“That’s definitely a big attraction of the new concourse, bigger windows, more natural light, more room to move,” Thomas said.
The demolition of Concourse B in the more than $200 million project started in January 2019. It’s expected to open on time by mid-2021.
“We’re starting to focus on the interior now -- different storefronts, framework and finishing,” Thomas said.
While construction did not stall during the pandemic, passenger travel at the airport did.
“I’m ready to take a vacation,” Traveler Danielle Mull said.
At one point, passenger numbers were down 95 percent. Though this last week Memphis International saw its busiest week since March.
More than 21,000 passengers and employees screened.
“We’re still down about 48 percent compared to last year, but the national average is still 60 percent down,” Thomas said. “Therefore, Memphis travelers are outpacing the national average.”
“I totally miss the public and interacting with people,” Traveler Jeremy Hodges said. “I wouldn’t mind coming and seeing it packed like it was.”
If you are starting to travel, Thomas said to check the airport’s COVID-19 page before your flight. The pandemic has disrupted some routes, though many are starting to return.
Two airlines recently added new direct flights from Memphis. Delta will start operating service to Indianapolis in October, and Southwest will add a flight to Phoenix in December.