Memphis International Airport Notes

October 2011

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New Control Tower at Memphis International Officially Dedicated

On Thursday, October 20, the new Control Tower at Memphis International was officially dedicated during a ceremony hosted by Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Chairman Arnold Perl, and featuring dignitaries and guests from the national, state and local levels. The dedication completes a project that began with ground breaking ceremonies in January 2008.

Federal Aviation Administration administrator Randy Babbitt praised the project and called it “an incredible, state-of-the-art, high-tech, leading-edge tower.”

“This tower is a symbol of the FAA’s commitment to aviation safety and modernization of the air traffic control system,” said Babbitt. “Our future success depends on keeping our airport infrastructure healthy and investing in NextGen so we can make air travel more efficient, dependable and even safer.”

His sentiment was shared by local airport officials as well as U.S. congressmen Steve Cohen, D-Memphis, Stephen Fincher, R-Tenn., and Rick Crawford, R-Ark., Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Jr. and Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell.

At 336 feet, the $72.6 million air traffic control tower and radar approach control at Memphis International Airport enables air traffic controllers to continue to provide the safest, most efficient service to both passenger and cargo flights.

The new tower is equipped with state-of-the-art Next Generation Air Transportation System, or NextGen, technology.  The 850 square-foot tower cab has enough room to accommodate additional future air traffic control positions.  The 24,000-square-foot base building houses training rooms, administrative offices, and an expanded terminal radar approach control (TRACON), with space for future growth. The new facility has the latest seismic, security, and air traffic simulation capabilities as well as the latest radar, communications and weather technology.

The new tower in Memphis is the third tallest in the United States. It is surpassed only by Atlanta at 398 feet and Orlando at 345 feet.  The old tower was commissioned in 1977, and will now be dismantled in sections.

The construction contract for $52.2 million was awarded in September 2007 to Flintco, Inc. of Memphis. Equipment and installation costs of $9.3 million and demolition of the old tower cost of $11.1 million, brings the total project cost to $72.6 million.



Dignitaries from local and federal government joined Airport Authority leadership at the dedication ceremonies to hear from Federal Aviation Administration Administrator Randy Babbitt. Seated Left to Right: Douglas R. Murphy, FAA, Regional Administrator, Southern Region; Mark Luttrell, Mayor, Shelby County; Rick Crawford, U.S. Congressman, AR; Steve Cohen, U.S. Congressman, TN; Arnold Perl, Chairman, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (seated behind podium); Stephen Fincher, U.S. Congressman, TN; A C Wharton, Jr., Mayor, City of Memphis; Larry D. Cox, President & CEO, Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority


Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority Chairman Arnold Perl served as master of ceremonies for the dedication of the new Memphis Tower.


The crowd gathered for the dedication of the new Memphis Tower, with the new tower and the smaller 1977 tower as a backdrop.

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