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Memphis International Airport

Coordinates: 35°02′33″N 089°58′36″W / 35.04250°N 89.97667°W / 35.04250; -89.97667
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Memphis International Airport
FedEx SuperHub at the airport
Airport typePublic / Military
Owner/OperatorMemphis–Shelby County Airport Authority
ServesMemphis metropolitan area
LocationShelby County, Tennessee, United States
Opened1929; 95 years ago (1929)
Hub for
Elevation AMSL341 ft / 104 m
Coordinates35°02′33″N 089°58′36″W / 35.04250°N 89.97667°W / 35.04250; -89.97667
FAA airport diagram
FAA airport diagram
Direction Length Surface
ft m
18C/36C 11,120 3,389 Concrete
18L/36R 9,000 2,743 Concrete
18R/36L 9,320 2,841 Concrete
9/27 8,946 2,727 Concrete
Statistics (2023)
Aircraft operations211,526
Cargo8,558,070,310 lbs.
Sources: Memphis International Airport[1]

Memphis International Airport (IATA: MEM, ICAO: KMEM, FAA LID: MEM) is a civil-military airport located seven miles (11 km) southeast of Downtown Memphis in Shelby County, Tennessee, United States. It is the primary international airport serving Memphis. It covers 3,900 acres (1,600 ha) and has four runways.[2][3]

It is home to the FedEx Express global hub, often referred to as the FedEx Superhub or simply the Superhub,[4] which processes many of the company's packages.[5] Nonstop FedEx destinations from Memphis include cities across the continental United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and South America.

From 1993 to 2009, Memphis International had the largest cargo operations of any airport worldwide. It dropped to the second position in 2010, just behind Hong Kong. It still remained the busiest cargo airport in the United States and in the Western Hemisphere, until 2020, when it once again became the world's busiest cargo handling airport due to the surge in ecommerce partly caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[6]

The airport averages over 80 passenger flights per day.[7] The 164th Airlift Wing of the Tennessee Air National Guard is based at the co-located Memphis Air National Guard Base, operating C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft.[8]


Landside departures at Memphis International Airport
A FedEx MD-11F taxiing at Memphis

Memphis Municipal Airport, dedicated in 1929, opened on a 200-acre (81 ha) plot of farmland just over seven miles (11 km) from downtown Memphis. In its early years the airport had three hangars and an unpaved runway; passenger and air mail service was provided by American Airlines and Chicago and Southern Air Lines (acquired by Delta Air Lines in 1953). A modern terminal was built in 1938 to meet the demands for increased commercial passenger service. In 1939 Eastern Air Lines arrived; that March, Eastern had one departure a day to Muscle Shoals and beyond, American had four east/west and C&S had four north/south.

During World War II the United States Army Air Forces Air Transport Command 4th Ferrying Group used Memphis while sending new aircraft overseas. In April 1951 the runways were 6000-ft 2/20, 6530-ft 9/27, 4370-ft 14/32 and 4950-ft 17/35; the airport was all north of Winchester Road during the 1950s.[9]

The April 1957 OAG shows 64 weekday departures: 25 on Delta, 18 American, 7 Southern, 5 Eastern, 4 Braniff, 3 Trans-Texas and 2 Capital. American DC-6s flew nonstop to Washington and New York, but westward nonstops did not reach beyond Fort Worth and Kansas City until American started Los Angeles in 1964. The first scheduled jets were Delta 880s ORD-MEM-MSY and back, starting in July–August 1960.

The current terminal was designed by Mann & Harrover and cost $6.5 million. It opened on June 7, 1963, and Memphis Municipal changed its name to Memphis International in 1969. In 1985–86 Republic Airlines began flights to Mexico. The terminal was expanded for $31.6 million in 1974, adding two new concourses and extending the others, which were designed by Roy P. Harrover & Associates.[10]

Hub status[edit]

Southern Airways was an important regional carrier at Memphis in the 1960s; it merged into Republic Airlines in 1979 as the first large merger after the passage of the Airline Deregulation Act. With the dismantling of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) flight approval requirements, airlines began developing around a large hub model as opposed to the former point-to-point networks that were common before deregulation. Republic established Memphis as a hub operation in 1985 before merging into Northwest Airlines in 1986.[11] Northwest operated around 300 daily flights at the peak of the hub, including international flights to Canada, Mexico, and the Caribbean.[12] KLM, a partner of Northwest, launched a flight to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol in June 1995. This was Memphis's first transatlantic passenger service. The airline used McDonnell Douglas MD-11 on the route.[13][14] In preparation for the flight, the airport had constructed a customs facility that cost $12.6 million.[15] In 2003, Northwest began flying the route instead, initially with a McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30, and later with an Airbus A330.[16] In 2007 Northwest considered launching a nonstop flight to Narita International Airport in Tokyo, Japan in 2009 after the Boeing 787 Dreamliner was delivered. This would have been Memphis's first transpacific passenger service.

Federal Express (now FedEx Express) began operations in Memphis in 1973. It opened its current "SuperHub" facility on the north side of the airport in 1981, and maintains a large presence to the present day.

Northwest was acquired by Delta Air Lines (which operates a large hub in Atlanta) in 2008, and Delta continued operating at Memphis as a hub, flying as many as 200 flights per day in 2009.[17] However, the carrier discontinued the Amsterdam link in September 2012 due to high fuel prices, diminished passenger numbers, and economic challenges.[18][19] Delta continued to scale back its operations at Memphis before closing the hub in 2013.[17] Passenger traffic at the airport declined for the next several years until it bottomed out at 3.5 million in 2015.

Recent years[edit]

In 2014, the Memphis–Shelby County Airport Authority announced a planned $114 million renovation of the airport. This renovation included demolishing the largely vacant south ends of Concourses A and C, mothballing the remaining portions and widening and modernizing the larger Concourse B. The renovation, which was expected to start in late 2015 and end around 2020, would have left the airport with about 60 gates.[20]

The initial project was only partly completed, with the south end of Concourse A demolished. Memphis officials decided to rethink the plans; several aspects of the project changed. The plan had called for renovating and widening Concourse B, the updated plan included a full redesign of most of the concourse. Concourse B was closed during construction, and airlines and tenants moved to Concourses A and C during that time. The southwest leg of Concourse B will be updated in a future phase, and will only be utilized in the near term for passengers from inbound international flights.[21] The modernization began in September 2018 and was completed in February 2022.[22]

In November 2022, Memphis opened its new $309 million consolidated de-icing facility located at the southern edge of the airport. It has capacity for 12 wide-body planes and included the construction of two new taxiway bridges and a control tower.[23]

In 2023, the south end of Concourse C was demolished.

In October 2022, the Airport Authority revealed their revised master plan, including expansion of the landside portion of the terminal, expanding space for parking and car rentals, and runway expansions.[24] Terminal construction will begin in summer of 2024.[25]



Memphis International Airport has three concourses (A,B,C) within a single terminal. Concourse B is the only active concourse with 23 gates.[26] All non pre–cleared international flights are processed on the southwestern leg of the concourse.[27]

Ground transportation[edit]

Memphis International Airport's passenger terminal can be accessed from Interstate 240 at exit 23B via Plough Blvd and Jim McGehee Pkwy. It can also be accessed via Winchester Rd.

MATA Bus #28 offers connections to the Hudson and Airways transit centers.[28][29]

The Ground Transportation Center, completed in February 2013, contains the airport's economy parking and parking for all car rental companies.[30]

Airlines and destinations[edit]


Allegiant Air Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando/Sanford, St. Petersburg/Clearwater
Seasonal: Destin/Fort Walton Beach
American Airlines Charlotte, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami, Phoenix–Sky Harbor [32]
American Eagle Boston, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, New York–LaGuardia, Philadelphia, Washington–National [32]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Salt Lake City [33][34]
Delta Connection Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York–LaGuardia [33]
Frontier Airlines Denver, Orlando [35]
Southern Airways Express Destin–Executive, El Dorado, Harrison (AR), Hot Springs (AR), Jonesboro
Seasonal: Jackson (TN)
Southwest Airlines Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Dallas–Love, Denver, Houston–Hobby, Orlando
Seasonal: Las Vegas (begins October 3, 2024),[37] Phoenix–Sky Harbor (resumes October 3, 2024),[37] Tampa, Washington–National
Spirit Airlines Dallas/Fort Worth (begins July 11, 2024),[39] Las Vegas, Orlando
Seasonal: Tampa
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark[41] [42]
United Express Chicago–O'Hare, Houston–Intercontinental, Newark[41] [42]


Amerijet International Seasonal: Miami, San Juan
Atlas Air Miami
DHL Aviation Cincinnati, Nashville, New Orleans [43]
FedEx Express Aguadilla, Albany (NY), Albuquerque, Allentown, Anchorage, Appleton, Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Billings, Birmingham (AL), Bloomington, Bogotá, Boise, Boston, Buffalo, Burbank, Burlington, Calgary, Campinas, Casper, Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, Charleston (SC), Charlotte, Chattanooga, Chicago–O'Hare, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Cologne/Bonn, Colorado Springs, Columbia (SC), Columbus–Rickenbacker, Dallas/Fort Worth, Dayton, Denver, Des Moines, Detroit, Dover, Dubai–International, Dublin, Edmonton, El Paso, Fargo, Flint, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Fort Wayne, Fort Worth/Alliance, Fresno, Grand Junction, Grand Rapids, Great Falls, Greensboro (NC), Greenville/Spartanburg, Guadalajara, Harlingen, Harrisburg, Hartford, Honolulu, Houston–Intercontinental, Huntington (WV), Indianapolis, Jacksonville (FL), Kansas City, Knoxville, Lafayette, Laredo, Las Vegas, Liège, London–Stansted, Los Angeles, Louisville, Lubbock, Madison, Manchester (NH), Mexico City/AIFA, Miami, Milwaukee, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Mobile–International, Monterrey, Montréal–Mirabel, Nashville, New Orleans, New York–JFK, Newark, Newburgh, Norfolk, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Omaha, Ontario, Orange County (CA), Orlando, Ottawa, Panama City–Tocumen, Paris–Charles de Gaulle, Peoria, Philadelphia, Phoenix–Sky Harbor, Pittsburgh, Portland (ME), Portland (OR), Providence, Querétaro, Quito, Raleigh/Durham, Reno/Tahoe, Richmond, Roanoke, Rochester (MN), Rochester (NY), Sacramento, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose (CA), San José (CR), San Juan, Savannah, Seattle/Tacoma, Seoul–Incheon, Shreveport, Sioux Falls, South Bend, Spokane, Springfield (MO), St. Louis, Syracuse, Tallahassee, Tampa, Tijuana, Tokyo–Narita, Toluca/Mexico City, Toronto–Pearson, Tucson, Tulsa, Vancouver, Washington–Dulles, West Palm Beach, Wichita, Winnipeg [44][45]
FedEx Feeder Atlanta, Birmingham (AL), Charleston (SC), Charleston (WV), Columbus (GA), Dothan, Evansville, Huntsville, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Monroe, Shreveport, Tallahassee, Thief River Falls, Tulsa
Kalitta Charters Cincinnati
UPS Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Jackson (MS), Little Rock, Louisville, Miami, Ontario, Roanoke [46]


Passenger traffic[edit]

Annual passenger traffic at MEM airport. See Wikidata query.

Annual traffic and cargo[edit]

MEM Airport Annual Traffic and Cargo Data 2006-Present[47]
Year Passengers Total cargo (lbs.) Year Passengers Total cargo (lbs.)
2006 11,149,775 8,141,305,181 2016 4,001,017 9,530,165,389
2007 11,258,682 8,468,558,790 2017 4,196,259 9,562,537,748
2008 10,925,622 8,148,705,319 2018 4,419,541 9,856,782,840
2009 10,229,627 8,152,267,352 2019 4,644,490 9,531,640,512
2010 10,003,186 8,636,848,399 2020 2,029,836 10,172,615,629
2011 8,737,641 8,635,964,038 2021 3,590,638 9,879,426,206
2012 6,753,186 8,855,559,128 2022 4,355,206 8,908,773,342
2013 4,598,186 9,124,147,586 2023 4,796,717 8,558,070,310
2014 3,597,601 9,390,059,997 2024
2015 3,758,450 9,460,855,765 2025

Top destinations[edit]

Busiest domestic routes from MEM (January 2023 - December 2023)[48]
Rank City Passengers Carriers
1 Atlanta, Georgia 461,000 Delta, Southwest
2 Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas 268,000 American, Spirit
3 Charlotte, North Carolina 228,000 American
4 Denver, Colorado 142,000 Frontier, Southwest, United
5 Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 125,000 American, United
6 Houston–Intercontinental, Texas 107,000 United
7 Orlando, Florida 102,000 Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
8 Las Vegas, Nevada 84,000 Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest, Spirit
9 New York–LaGuardia, New York 79,000 American, Delta
10 Chicago–Midway, Illinois 77,000 Southwest

Airline market share[edit]

Largest airlines at MEM
(November 2022 - October 2023)
Rank Airline Passengers Share
1 Delta Air Lines 1,101,000 23.43%
2 American Airlines 1,049,000 22.32%
3 Southwest Airlines 701,000 14.91%
4 United Airlines 367,000 7.81%
5 Republic Airways 284,000 6.04%
6 Other 1,198,000 25.49%

Accidents and incidents[edit]

  • On August 12, 1944, a USAAF Douglas C-47 caught fire after takeoff after one of the propeller blades cut through the fuselage, causing a fire on the runway. All except the captain got out safely.[49]
  • On December 17, 1944, a USAAF Douglas C-47 drifted to the right after takeoff, stalled and hit a brick storehouse. Three out of the six on board died.[50]
  • On January 13, 1963, a Douglas DC-7 operated by the USAF struck a USAF Fairchild C-123 Provider taxiing at night. The pilot of the DC-7 was killed, and the Provider was destroyed after catching fire.[51][52]
  • On May 18, 1978, a Dassault Falcon 20 C operated by Flight Safety International collided with a Cessna 150 3.8 miles west of MEM, all four occupants on the Falcon and two aboard the Cessna died as both aircraft crashed.[53]
  • On August 11, 1984, Douglas C-47 N70003 of Aviation Enterprises crashed shortly after takeoff from Memphis International Airport on a domestic nonscheduled passenger flight to O'Hare International Airport, Chicago. All three people on board died.[54] A missing spark plug on the port engine caused a loss of power. Maintenance involving the removal of the spark plugs had been performed the previous day.[55]
  • On October 8, 1987, a Volpar Turboliner II operated by Connie Kalitta Services crashed while attempting to return to MEM due to an attached tail stand. The aircraft was overweight and the cg (Center of Gravity) was three inches forward of the limit. The sole occupant died.[56]
  • On April 7, 1994, Federal Express Flight 705 bound for San Jose, California, experienced an attempted hijacking shortly after takeoff. FedEx employee Auburn Calloway tried to hijack the plane in order to crash it into the FedEx hub at Memphis International, in a Kamikaze-style attack. The crew—although seriously injured—fought him off and returned to Memphis, where police and emergency crews subdued him.
  • On October 15, 2002, a Northwest Airlines Avro RJ 85 collided with the jetway at gate C2 while taxiing for a maintenance check. The mechanics were unable to slow the aircraft down in time. Due to their error, the aircraft suffered minor damage, but the number one engine was ripped almost entirely off, and the jetway. The aircraft was eventually torn apart and set in a field near the airport.
  • On December 18, 2003, FedEx Express Flight 647 veered off the runway after the landing gear collapsed upon landing. The flight had departed Oakland International Airport (OAK) earlier that day. The aircraft was immediately engulfed in flames. All five crew members escaped by exiting via the cockpit window.
  • On July 28, 2006, FedEx Flight 630's landing gear collapsed upon landing at Memphis International Airport after a flight from Seattle–Tacoma International Airport. After coming to a stop, the plane caught fire, engulfing the left wing and engine. While the three crew members sustained injuries, they all survived. The aircraft was written off.


  1. ^ "Memphis International Airport Statistics" (PDF). Retrieved March 21, 2024.
  2. ^ FAA Airport Form 5010 for MEM PDF, effective April 18, 2024.
  3. ^ "MEM airport data at skyvector.com". skyvector.com. Retrieved August 25, 2022.
  4. ^ "U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu Visits FedEx Memphis Superhub". FedEx Newsroom. January 29, 2011. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  5. ^ "Memphis - Land Use - Global Airport Cities". www.globalairportcities.com. Archived from the original on November 29, 2014.
  6. ^ "Global Airport Cities 2013 – Welcome". Globalairportcities.com. August 11, 2013. Archived from the original on April 22, 2016. Retrieved August 11, 2013.
  7. ^ "MEM March passengers drive 9.1% traffic increase". Retrieved April 30, 2019.
  8. ^ "164th Airlift Wing > Home". www.164aw.ang.af.mil.
  9. ^ "All sizes - Memphis 1956_0008 - Flickr - Photo Sharing!". Flickr.
  10. ^ Clute, Eugene; Fenimore, Russell; Reid, Kenneth (1973). Progressive Architecture. Vol. 54. Reinhold Publishing Corporation. p. 46. Retrieved June 14, 2012.
  11. ^ "Memphis Airport history". Mscaa.com. June 14, 1929. Retrieved November 8, 2011.
  12. ^ Moseley, Jace. "The Death and Rebirth of Memphis (MEM) and Cincinnati (CVG)". Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  13. ^ "Daily Memphis-Amsterdam flights set". The Atlanta Constitution. November 5, 1995. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  14. ^ Ha, Hue (June 15, 1995). "Blues promotion seeks to gather European green". Clarion-Ledger. Jackson, MS. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  15. ^ "Memphis-Amsterdam air route opens". The Daily News-Journal. Murfreesboro, TN. Associated Press. June 28, 1995. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  16. ^ Roberts, Jane (May 1, 2003). "Northwest/KLM will fly larger jets to Amsterdam". The Commercial Appeal. ProQuest 394015266.
  17. ^ a b Mutzabaugh, Ben. "Delta to pull plug on Memphis hub after Labor Day". USA Today. Retrieved August 16, 2017.
  18. ^ "Delta's 4Q2012 international route cuts free up significant widebody capacity". CAPA - Centre for Aviation. June 28, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  19. ^ Ashby, Andy (October 30, 2012). "Delta Air Lines scratches Amsterdam from Memphis". Memphis Business Journal. Retrieved June 15, 2021.
  20. ^ Phillips, Bianca (February 20, 2014). "Memphis International Airport To Downsize Concourses". Memphis Flyer. Archived from the original on April 14, 2021. Retrieved July 22, 2023.
  21. ^ "Modernization Images". Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  22. ^ Chaney, Kim (February 15, 2022). "Renovated B Concourse opens at Memphis International Airport". www.localmemphis.com. Retrieved February 16, 2022.
  23. ^ Gallant, Jacob (November 29, 2022). "New $300M de-icing facility unveiled at MEM". Action News 5. Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  24. ^ Schienberg, Niki (October 27, 2022). "What could be in store for Memphis International Airport? More parking, a hotel and more". The Commercial Appeal. Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  25. ^ Roberts, Jane (March 28, 2024). "Airport in for a whole lotta shaking in $665 million terminal upgrade". Daily Memphian. Retrieved April 4, 2024.
  26. ^ "Terminal Map - Memphis International Airport". Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  27. ^ "MEM Airport Terminal Map". Retrieved March 28, 2021.
  28. ^ "Ground Transportation". flymemphis.com. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  29. ^ "Route 28 Schedule" (PDF). matatransit.com. Retrieved February 26, 2021.
  30. ^ "Memphis International Airport Ground Transportation Center". Flintco. Retrieved January 18, 2022.
  31. ^ "Allegiant Interactive Route Map". allegiantair.com. Allegiant Travel Company. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  32. ^ a b "American Airlines Map". aa.fltmaps.com. Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  33. ^ a b "Delta Air Lines Map". dl.fltmaps.com. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  34. ^ "SkyTeam Timetables" (PDF). SkyTeam. Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  35. ^ "Frontier". Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  36. ^ "Routes - Southern Airways Express". iflysouthern.com. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  37. ^ a b "Southwest Airlines Extends Flight Schedule Through Early November". Retrieved February 8, 2024.
  38. ^ "Southwest Airlines - Route Map". southwest.com. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  39. ^ "Spirit Airlines July 2024 Dallas / Detroit Network Expansion". Aeroroutes. Retrieved May 8, 2024.
  40. ^ "Spirit Airlines Route Map". Retrieved December 14, 2021.
  41. ^ a b "Spring Routes". Retrieved February 13, 2024.
  42. ^ a b "Timetable". Retrieved June 4, 2024.
  43. ^ "Destinations Served". DHL Aviation Cargo. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  44. ^ Risher, Wayne. "FedEx announces $1 billion expansion of Memphis hub". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  45. ^ Nichols, Meagan. "New FedEx route connects China to Memphis". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  46. ^ "UPS Air Cargo: Airports". Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  47. ^ "Memphis Int'l Airport Annual Statistics 2006-Present". flymemphis.com. Retrieved June 12, 2024.
  48. ^ a b "Memphis International Airport (MEM)". Bureau of Transportation Statistics. Retrieved March 29, 2024.
  49. ^ Accident description for 43-15598 at the Aviation Safety Network
  50. ^ Accident description for 43-1976 at the Aviation Safety Network
  51. ^ Accident description for N4875C at the Aviation Safety Network
  52. ^ Accident description for Fairchild C-123B at the Aviation Safety Network
  53. ^ Accident description for N121GW at the Aviation Safety Network
  54. ^ "Accident description". Aviation Safety Network. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  55. ^ "NTSB Identification: ATL84FA251". National Transportation Safety Board. Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  56. ^ Accident description for N9231 at the Aviation Safety Network

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

External images
image icon Aircraft photos from Memphis International (MEM) at airliners.net
image icon FedEx Jets @ MEM Photo