$174m Invested in Memphis Airport Cargo Hub

Preparations have been made for winter weather.

Source : Unsplash

December 7, 2022

Author : Alex Bustillos

Memphis has long been home home to FedEx's largest air cargo and sorting center.  

Ice and snow are major causes of concern during the winters in Memphis and other cities, as more than half of the country experiences low temperatures and snowstorms.

However, upgrades such as the new 3.3 million-square-foot de-icing pads at the Memphis airport help to ensure the center does not face a slow down over winter.

Snow, slush, and ice are all safety risks that can significantly impair airplane performance. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) believes that ice on the wings, similar to coarse sandpaper, can reduce wing lift by up to 30% while increasing drag by 40%. This would have a significant detrimental influence on a takeoff roll.

The pads are large enough to simultaneously de-ice 12 wide-body cargo aircraft, which will assist moving goods to their destinations faster and more effectively this holiday season. The DOT contributed $174 million to the project's success.

"This holiday season and every season, it's critical that American families and businesses get the goods they need when they need them,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.

Message boards meanwhile remove the need for audio contact with pilots, taxiway lead-in lights eliminate the need for follow-me trucks or marshallers and infrared cameras aid in positioning airplanes in the de-icing bays at Memphis International Airport.

The updates are also good for the environment. De-icing planes at a central pad rather than the gate allows planes to depart sooner, minimizing the need to de-ice planes again. The new pads feature a separate drainage system and large-volume containers for collecting de-icing fluid. The fluid is metered into the sanitary sewer system, where it degrades and helps disinfect the city's wastewater.

"We want to thank the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, and Memphis International Airport for their support of this new Consolidated De-icing Facility - an example of how to deploy technology to improve operational efficiency,” explained Richard W. Smith, president, and CEO, FedEx Express. "The timing could not be better as FedEx enters the busy holiday season. 

The Memphis project is one of several investments being made to prepare for winter weather. Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and DOT awarded more than $76.2 million to airports to equip them with snow plows, de-icing equipment, and new or updated buildings for winter equipment storage.

About $46.2 million will be used to purchase snow removal equipment, another $13.6 million to establish de-icing facilities, and the other $16.4 million will be used to build and upgrade buildings that house and maintain snow removal equipment. The FAA's Airport Improvement Program provides the funding.

Associate Administrator for Airports Shannetta Griffin, P.E., stated, “We can’t let winter weather stop aircraft from safely landing and taking off. This funding will help keep airports operating this winter and safely transport passengers and cargo to their work, families, and vacations.” 

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Category : Department of Transportation Investment in Infrastructure Airports

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