MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Let’s be honest. It’s hard to get excited about air cargo. Sure, FedEx is a major player in this city. Thousands work for FedEx, get paid by FedEx, and pump that FedEx pay right back into the Memphis economy. Other than that, though, it’s hard to get excited about air cargo, although some try. “This is America’s distribution center,” said 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen (D-Memphis).
You said it, Congressman. Memphis rocks when it comes to air cargo. It’s because of all of those flights carrying packages and envelopes and knick knacks, by the way, that resulted in a big chunk of federal money coming to Memphis. Close to $32 million is the total, and a lot of that money will end up sitting at the ends of runways in the form of concrete pieces. It’s a safety thing. According to Cohen, “The ends of the runways will be secured so there’s less a likelihood of any airplane going off the runway.”
If you’ve ever driven through the mountains you’ve probably seen those emergency ramps for tractor trailer rigs heading down hills with brake problems. The ramps are nothing more than huge pits of sand that will stop a truck dead in its tracks. It’s the same theory they use for the ends of the runways. Memphis Airport Director Larry Cox said, “The system will, if an airplane goes too far off the end of a runway, this material will keep it from going too far without harming passengers. It will slow it down until it makes a safe stop.”
Meanwhile, everybody knows Southwest Airlines is coming to Memphis. That’s not news, and it’s certainly no secret. Their schedule will start by this time next year - at least that’s what they hope. Meanwhile, the search continues to find another major carrier to work out of Memphis. The economy isn’t doing Memphis any favors though. “The airlines look toward where they can get the most passengers they can get on airplanes,” Congressman Cohen said. “Look at Memphis and our per capita income, our poverty rates, our credit ratings and none of them are very good. We don't have as many people that can afford to fly at any price as some other cities.”