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Memphis airport officials were stung Wednesday by a New York Times
story that painted a "bleak, negative picture" of the airport in the days since the Delta de-hub.
Available flights to and from Memphis International Airport plummeted in the years after Delta's decision to close the hub here in 2013. Since then, airport officials have worked to bring more flights and new airlines to its roster. Also, the airport just started a five-year plan to modernize and rightsize itself.
The Times story
by Alan Blinder is headlined "The Trouble With the Memphis Airport: No Crowds." It said the airport here was learning "how to shrink gracefully." But instead of talking of the efforts made to grow flights back to Memphis, Blinder pointed to the empty concourses and "deserted corridors."
The descriptions chafed airport president and CEO Scott Brockman who, in a letter to members of the Memphis and Shelby County Airport Authority, noted the "the article paints a very bleak, negative picture."
Brockman said he spent an hour with Blinder and "what we shared with this reporter was much different than what is portrayed in the story ..."
Brockman pointed to his team's "relentless pursuit of frequent and affordable air service," and the increase of enplanements (the number of passengers getting on and off of flights), that airfares have fallen, recruitment of new airlines, and more.
Brockman said the reporter and photographer were given tours of the still-open (and busy) A and C concourses and of the now-closed B-concourse.
"It’s an indictment of this article’s goal that when the reporter and photographer arrived at the A gates, passengers were backed up into the A/B connector and the gates were very full," Brockman said. "Yet, the photo of the A gate that was used shows only a few passengers."
To close, Brockman called the story a "gross misrepresentation of our airport."