A thriving airport can make or break a city. Which is why many business leaders in Memphis got nervous when, in March 2011, Delta Air Lines announced that it would cut 25 percent of its service in and out of Memphis International Airport.
Time to re-regulate? (Mark Garfinkel/AP) The airport had once served as a major hub for Northwest Airlines. But a few years after Delta acquired Northwest, the Memphis airport hub was pared back as a cost-saving measure. Tom Jones, a columnist for Memphis magazine, has been chronicling the damage to the city ever since. It can now cost Memphis residents $750 to fly to Cincinnati or $900 to Austin. Businesses are relocating or avoiding Memphis because they can’t afford the flights. The city’s annual Folk Alliance music festival is shifting to Kansas City in 2014 to avoid airport hassles.
“It’s ironic that in a city where FedEx invented the modern-day model for global commerce, our citizens are being priced out of the world economy,” Jones said.