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CAA: Airport News, "Northwest Plans Major Expansion at Memphis, Tenn., Hub"
February 8, 2000
Northwest Plans Major Expansion at Memphis, Tenn., Hub
The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN
Feb. 8--The largest single expansion of air service in the 75-year history
of Northwest Airlines Corp. will happen in Memphis on June 1, the carrier
That's when 45 new daily flights, or a fourth "bank," will begin operations
between 4:35 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Memphis International Airport.
The new bank represents a 25 percent increase in service for Northwest
Airlines and its Northwest Airlink subsidiaries, Memphis-based Express
Airlines I Inc. and Minneapolis-based Mesaba Airlines.
A "bank" is a slot of departure times designed to provide a range of
outgoing flights and connecting opportunities.
Northwest made the announcement at a press conference in the lobby of the
airport terminal. Tennessee Gov. Don Sundquist, Memphis Mayor Willie
Herenton and Shelby County Mayor Jim Rout were among those in attendance.
Memphis International is one of three U.S. hubs for Northwest Airlines.
Minneapolis and Detroit are the other two.
It's the biggest announcement at Memphis International since Elvis I, the
first (and only) transatlantic flight from Memphis, began service to
Amsterdam in 1995.
And it goes beyond just air service. The nation's fourth largest airline
will add 350 more Airlink jobs as well, a number that is expected to grow as
the number of takeoffs and landings increase at the airport, Northwest
The state estimates that Northwest's expansion will have a $350 million
"It really represents a long term and significant commitment and investment
in Memphis, our people in Memphis and our community," said Richard H.
Anderson, Northwest's executive vice president and chief operating officer.
"We are really laying the groundwork for the next decade of growth at
Indeed. The airport is already in the midst of a $400 million project that
will add 15 new gates to Concourse A, new Northwest ticket counters and much
Although it's unclear how this announcement will impact airfares, it does
give more travel options to passengers since the new bank fills Northwest's
service gap in the afternoon and early evening.
Memphis will gain new daily non-stop service to two new markets that will be
named at a later date, Northwest officials said, as well as additional
service to 40 existing destinations, including Dallas-Fort Worth, Los
Angeles, Montgomery, Ala. and Jackson, Miss.
Northwest Airlines and its subsidiaries now have 217 daily departures in
three "banks" at its Memphis hub: one starting at 8:35 a.m., another at 1:30
p.m. and the last at 8 p.m.
On June 1, that number will grow to 244.
Tickets for travel starting that date were made available for purchase
The fourth bank will add over a million seats annually to the Memphis
In the fiscal year 1999, the airport reported that slightly more than 4.9
million passengers boarded planes at the airport; Northwest Airlines, which
operates Memphis as a hub, carried 63 percent of them.
Arnold Perl, chairman of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority, said
the increased passenger traffic gives Memphis a better shot at gaining new
international service or skimming some existing service away from Detroit
Both serve as international hubs for Northwest.
Northwest's Anderson said the airline has no plans for increasing
international service from Memphis; but if the fourth bank proves profitable
anything is possible.
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