MEMPHIS, Tenn.– A multi-million dollar modernization project will bring airline, retail and restaurant operations into the B concourse at the Memphis International Airport in 2022.

There’s still some work to be done, but WREG got an up close look at what the new concourse will offer travelers.

Glen Thomas, public information officer at Memphis International Airport, said the $245 million face lift of the B concourse is a project years in the making.

It was a need that became clear after Delta Airlines moved its HUB operations from Memphis, leaving empty gates and passengers spread across three concourses.

“When this concourse opens, we will close the A and C concourses. We won’t tear them down…they’ll just be closed and all the retail, restaurant, airline operations are going to take place here in this concourse. So it won’t really be the B concourse anymore…it will be THE concourse,” Thomas said. “It’s a complete re-invention of the travel experience for the Memphis passenger.”

A tour of the new concourse is like stepping out of the darkness and into the light. B concourse is nearly twice as wide as before. The ceilings are higher, there is more comfortable seating with charging stations at each one and lots of natural light.

New seating with charging stations.

“We’re utilizing “smart glass” technology in which the windows are going to tint with the level of the sunlight,” Thomas said.

B concourse will offer moving walkways that will take you smoothly past gates and a variety of restaurants, pubs, a children’s play area and even a stage for live entertainment.

Patients and their families will find a place to relax at this special lounge staffed by St. Jude workers.

While the gate level appears ready to go, there is still work to be done on the ground level where airlines have their gate operations.

Thomas said the pandemic and supply chain issues are making it harder to get the necessary materials, causing delays.

“Water heaters, doors, door frames, smoke alarms. All those things have been difficult to come by and have caused some delays with that construction,” he said.

The new concourse will have 23 gates serving nine airlines. Still on the drawing board are plans to upgrade ticket operations and baggage handling while also addressing possible improvements to parking.

WREG was told no local tax dollars will be used on the project.