Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Airport cuts user fees, but no direct impact on airfares is expected
By Wayne Risher
Memphis International Airport will lower user fees for airlines and concession operators July 1.
But no impact on airfares is expected because such fees represent about 4 percent of airline operating costs, airport officials said.
A 12.9 percent decrease in terminal rates and charges was approved Monday as part of a $120 million budget. It reflects a smaller terminal operation and bigger contribution from non-airline sources such as parking.
Landing fees also will drop, about 1.5 percent, because of anticipated traffic growth, primarily from larger passenger jets, and lower airfield expenses.
Airfares trending down from 2012 peak
Memphis airfares, historically among the nation's highest, have been coming down since 2012 because of increased competition and more low-cost carriers.
The budget approved by the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority board was down slightly from a year earlier.
Approval came after FedEx airport liaison Bill Pettit praised airport president Scott Brockman for running a tight ship.
“I venture to say there’s not any wasted expenditures in the budget, in the operations of the airport, so we as airlines appreciate that and we recognize that,” Pettit said.
Super tenant FedEx welcomes rate reduction
FedEx is the airport's largest single tenant and biggest payer of landing fees.
“The thing that we really like is the rates,” Pettit said. “You know that it’s really a well-run airport and a good budget when passengers are projected to go up, landed weight is projected to go up and the rates are projected to go down. That’s a real good sign.”
The budget covers airfield and terminal operations and upkeep and does not include capital improvements like a multiyear, $214 million project to modernize and enlarge B Concourse.