Big announcement on airline plans for Memphis - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Big announcement on airline plans for Memphis

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Mayor Wharton is encouraged by a meeting with Southwest Airlines executives in Memphis Friday. Mayor Wharton is encouraged by a meeting with Southwest Airlines executives in Memphis Friday.
Despite a verbal commitment from Southwest, the mayor plans to expand efforts to bring in other airlines. Despite a verbal commitment from Southwest, the mayor plans to expand efforts to bring in other airlines.
Wharton says Memphis needs more than one new carrier to compete in the Delta hub. Wharton says Memphis needs more than one new carrier to compete in the Delta hub.
MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) – Southwest Airline executives are expected to officially announce their commitment to bringing the discount air carrier to the Bluff City.

Additionally, city and state leaders will meet this morning to share their plan with the public. 

But Memphis Mayor A. C. Wharton isn't racing to get on board.

Mayor Wharton is encouraged by a meeting with Southwest Airlines executives in Memphis Friday.  But he says Memphis needs more than one new carrier to compete in the Delta hub.

"You can't put all your eggs in one basket, that's what we're suffering from now we're not gonna go there again," said Wharton.  "And you can't do it just by saying oh well we'll get Southwest."

Despite a verbal commitment from Southwest, the mayor plans to expand efforts to bring in other airlines. 

"We'll be going ahead to bring even more competition in.  That's what it's going to take," stated Wharton.

Wharton admits in this volatile market, anything can derail the Southwest deal…particularly, fluctuating fuel prices.

"The economics and finances of the airline industry are just some cold hard facts," Wharton stated.

Wharton says a thriving airport benefits travelers from three surrounding states.  It's an important economic engine that travels far beyond the boundaries of Memphis and Shelby County.

"It's not a battle we can take on alone we've got to have all the region involved," Wharton explained.

On October 9, mayors from three neighboring states will meet in Memphis to discuss future plans to vigorously pursue other airline options at Memphis International Airport.

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