MEMPHIS, TN (abc24.com) - Memphis is what Memphis is. Not too small, not too big. That may be a great combination for a city, but it's the kiss of death for an airport trying to bring in new business.
According to airline expert Dr. Brian Campbell, "The market is small. That's your biggest problem and there's nothing you can do about it. Very little."
Dr. Campbell is an airline expert with Campbell Hill Aviation. He's recommended by FedEx boss Fred Smith as the man in the know on how to deal with the Memphis International problems.
With high ticket prices and Delta Airlines cutting the number of flights here, his recommendation is don't tick Delta off.
"It will do you no good to complain publicly or privately about Delta Airlines. It'll be self defeating," he said.
Campbell says some things you've heard before, but he says you need to hear them again.
"If you're going to have a large scale of hub services, you're going to have to have high airfares to support the cost of that operation, so that's the choice you have."
The meeting brought in mayors from the region. Mayors have to fly sometimes to do their business. When asked whether any of them have driven to little rock to save money on a trip, none of them raised their hands except for Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald, who says he did the drive for a personal trip.
"We had a wedding in Houston. There were about seven of us coming from here, so it made sense for us to load up the van and drive over there and save that money."
The group was told competition is good, but don't forget the big dog.
Dr. Campbell stated, "I encourage you to continue to support Delta to help them understand this market better."
Campbell also says to go woo some of those low cost carriers as well. Tell them how swell Memphis is and how business people will buy tickets. That's what Airport Director Larry Cox is doing these days.
"What I am concentrating most on right now is to try and get these new carriers in here. We've got this new incentive program and we have some carriers that are finally looking at it. They're looking at the reduced operations of Delta and the incentive program and the opportunities here."