Moonbase Delta

Saturday February 2nd. I’m flying out of Memphis to Europe. The Amsterdam direct has been suppressed a while ago, so I’m flying through Atlanta. Come to think of it, that afternoon there are only 5 alternative destinations. The outbound flights fit in less than half a screen – the other 3 are empty.

6 outbound destinations , among which Huntington West Virginia and Tucson Arizona

6 outbound destinations , among which Huntington West Virginia and Tucson Arizona

I’m strolling through concourse (don’t you love that word?) B on my own and by my own. The terminal is empty. Nobody there. If you’d like to imagine how it is to be alone on the planet, this is the place to be. What a contrast with a couple of years ago. Memphis used to digest 250 flights per day. Now, 95 flights on weekdays are considered busy days. Since Delta swallowed NorthWest in 2010, Memphis International Airport slowly became a regional airport.

empty concourse

empty concourse

The renewal of the tarmac and the absense of workers on the ground add an apocalyptic dimension to it. I’m standing on a moving sidewalk, looking at a mix of earth and concrete. Aerobridges lead to nowhere. Vehicles are left behind as if some viral disaster hit the aerodome. This is Moonbase Alpha. No, this is Moonbase Delta.

stun gun charges in Moonbase Delta

stun gun chargers in Moonbase Delta

Aerobridge, without Eagle Transporter

Aerobridge, without Eagle Transporter

I walk in to Sun Studio Cafe, sit at the bar and tap myself a Blue Moon…

Sun Studio Cafe, Memphis International Airport, Saturday February 2nd, 12:38

Sun Studio Cafe, Memphis International Airport, Saturday February 2nd, 12:38

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4 thoughts on “Moonbase Delta

  1. Pingback: Wednesday News Update: Bear Hugs from Marc Gasol Edition

  2. Deserted is an understatement, I live in Memphis and happened to fly back into this “International Airport” the following Saturday, February 9th and arrived at 6:00PM. I was shocked to see not most, but all of the shops, stores and restaurants closed, at this time of day on a Saturday evening.

    I can’t help but question the wisdom or lack there of, of the Airport Authority placing all of it’s faith in one carrier, originally Northwest, then Delta and allowing them for years to control most of the terminals (gates) and keeping other low cost carriers out completely. Now that Delta, the only major carrier in Memphis, has all but abandoned this Airport, the Chairman of the Airport Authority abruptly resigned and now other low cost carriers are in no hurry to fill the void.

    Therefore, like most Memphians that fly regularly, I am able to fly out of Nashville or Little Rock and regularly save over $200 per flight. Until other carriers begin operations at this airport, I see more of the same in store for this once busy airport.

  3. Go ahead and go to BNA or LIT to fly that’s just what they want you to do. It gives delta a reason to keep pulling out of MEM.. Delta leaves there will be little service in MEM..

  4. I recently visited Memphis International Airport (September 3, 2013) to observe and photograph the former Memphis Hub. It was remarkable to see this once busling Hub practically deserted. When Northwest was here, it was very crowded with connecting passengers. Today it’s almost a ghost town. Memphis was just too close to Atlanta for Delta Airlines to continue operating a Hub. Therefore, Delta closed it down September 3rd 2013. Perhaps Southwest Airlines can pump life back into Memphis. Don’t see Memphis ever being a Hub airport in the immediate future.

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