Sunday, January 26, 2014

Memphis International Airport (KMEM), Tennessee

Memphis Airport Loses Two Restaurants
An Interstate Bar-B-Que restaurant and a Starbucks store are the latest casualties of reduced traffic at Memphis International Airport.

One of the two Interstate locations at the airport will close next month, along with one of the four Starbucks locations. Declining passenger traffic at the airport played a role in the closures.

The Interstate location that is closing is in the food court, which also has a Back Yard Burgers and Villa Pizza, but the sit-down restaurant will remain open. The Starbucks that is closing is on the southern end of Concourse A, away from the Southwest Airlines terminal on the northern end of the concourse.

Following cutbacks by Delta Airlines, the airport is down to 92 flights a day from a high of around 300 a decade ago. Delta operated only 49 daily flights in December, a dramatic drop from more than 200 daily flights five years ago.

Memphis International is in a transition period, shifting from an airport dominated by connecting flights to one focused on generating more origin and destination traffic. Also, Southwest Airlines began service in November, bringing with it lower fares – and there are strong indications locals are responding to the drop in prices.

Airport officials said 14,000 more local passengers flew out of the airport in December 2013 compared to December 2012.

Over the last six months of 2013, the airport recorded 900,500 originating and destination passengers, up from 843,000 over the same six-month period in 2012.

“It is a phenomenon of working to lower airfares,” said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “We have seen a steady increase in local travel, and that is the effect of affordable airfares.”


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