Archive for the ‘airport authority’ Category

Flying In Or Out Of Memphis

Tuesday, March 4th, 2014

March 4, 2014

Flying In Or Out Of Memphis

Yesterday I sent a letter to the editor of Commercial Appeal and it was published. It is shown below. As I read some of the reader comments to the letter, I was criticized for not being supportive of the new parking garage and for the future of Memphis. Believe me I want Memphis to grow and succeed and to get its fiscal house in order. Last week I asked for financial reports from the airport authority and while they were not published on the internet, they did send me electronically a huge list of Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports (CAFRs), a recent S&P credit rating report and lots of other information. All of this should be on their website but currently is not posted.

Here is some of the relevant data.

In the year 2000 we had 10.6 total passengers. In 2007 we had about the same numbers of total passengers. In 2013 we had 5.5 million passengers. Yet in 2001 they were planning the three story parking garage addition. In 2007 they stated in the CAFR that the new garage would proceed at a cost of $70 million dollars. Forward to 2009 and read the Memphis Business Journal article (more…)

Bait And Switch

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

May 30, 2013

My wife and I just came back from a trip to San Francisco to visit two of our daughters,  a son in law and a new (1 year old) grandchild. Wonderful visit, great weather and good food. However being a dedicated grouch I have to complain about something and why not the airport and the air travel.

First the air travel. In the past we could travel nonstop from Memphis to San Francisco. Now it is a broken flight, Memphis to Dallas, Dallas to San Francisco. This adds 3 to 4 hours to the flight time and by the time I got the reservations, our seats were almost next to the airplane outhouse. Then there is the TSA (transportation security administration). Due to my age I do not have to take off my shoes but almost everything else has to come off including my belt. Long lines, grim looking people and millions of dollars of equipment. Thanks Osama for your contribution to our lives. (This airport security job should be turned over to private contractors but this makes too much sense).

But the real annoyance came on returning to Memphis. Normally I park at Park and Fly but since this has been sold to the Airport authority, I parked at the long term airport parking facility. Last February on a four day trip I parked at the new facility at an advertised price of $6 per day. This is the bait and switch deal as it is now $11.00 per day. I assumed that the $6 price still applied for this trip. WRONG. As I was walking to Kingdom Come to get my car I saw a sign put up by the airport authority (which they should now take down) stating “Don’t do the Airport shuttle, Park here for $6/day”. Therefore my price went from the expected $30.00 to $55.00.

The next question is what did the airport authority pay for the Park and Fly facility at Winchester and Airways? More on this later.

$150 Million For Airport Parking and Rental Cars! Why?

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

November 28, 2012

There was an article in the CA yesterday about further cuts in Delta flights and service to and from Memphis. Could it get worse? Yes, we found out it could.

I have always been proud of our airport. It is a truly beautiful architectural job. At night, bring on the bubbly for the champagne flutes.


The New Airport Parking and Rental Car Center

Monday, March 12th, 2012

March 11, 2012

I have become interested in learning more about public bonds and our local debt. Ho hum I hear you saying but it is important and affects your tax bill and how much you have to spend on food, housing, education, travel, entertainment and health care.

Recently I went to pick up my brother from the airport and there was this big building under construction partially blocking my view of what is a beautiful airport entrance. Later I contacted the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority and asked for information on the project. Brian Kuhn, General Counsel, responded promptly and completely and I appreciate his response and information.

I have attached his letter and the front page of the bond document. On the front page it is very clear that the State of Tennessee, Memphis and Shelby County are not on the hook in case things do not work out for this investment. That is good and this type of front end clear statement should be part of all public debt instruments and be available online to the taxpaying public.

Now as to whether this is going to work out and be financially viable, that is another question. I don’t know about you but I am very unhappy with the whole air fare situation and air service selection in Memphis. (See a letter to the editor this morning). Any trip less than 500 miles and I am probably driving and then I don’t have to pay an additional charge for my luggage. With the advent of Skype and other visual communications, visiting in person is not as important as it used to be, especially in business.

I wish the Airport Authority well as generally they have a good management history compared to the City of Memphis. I hope the parking and car rental structure works out but at least, considering local taxes, it is not likely to cost me more which cannot be said for other local bonds, pension and health care costs.