Memphis International Airport (MEM) opened its modernised B Concourse on February 15, with departing flights commencing the following day.

As the $245m project nears completion, work continues on concessions, retail, and airline operations space on the ground level. Airlines, restaurants and retail outlets will also conduct training for their staff in the coming weeks. Progress on the project has been slowed in recent months by COVID, workforce, and supply chain-related issues, according to the airport.

The multi-year project features the modernisation of the spine and east leg of MEM’s B Concourse as well as consolidation of all airline, retail and food & beverage operations. The redesign includes the addition of wider corridors, moving walkways, larger boarding areas, higher ceilings and increased natural lighting. Highlights include a children’s play area, additional lounge areas, a stage for live music, and new air-conditioned jet bridges. The project also involves much-needed seismic upgrades.

The stem and southeast leg of the B Concourse will be completely modernised and will house all airline, retail and restaurant operations, while the southwest leg will be used only for international arriving flights and has not as yet been modernised.

Twenty-three gates will be available to airlines, accommodating six million passengers, about 50% more traffic than MEM’s pre-pandemic levels. According to the airport operator, continued long-term growth at MEM could facilitate another modernisation phase for the west leg of the B Concourse, where 15 more gates could help increase capacity to nearly 11 million annual passengers.

No local tax dollars were used to fund the modernisation project. Instead, it was financed by general airport revenue bonds, state and federal grants, passenger facility charges (PFCs) and other airport authority capital funds.