Back in 2012, when Delta Airlines still had a hub in Memphis, the city was known for having some of the highest airfares in country. They were so high that concerned citizens formed a Facebook group, Delta Does Memphis, and the Greater Memphis Chamber hosted a public forum on the issue. It wasn't uncommon for locals to drive to Little Rock's airport for cheaper fares.
But statistics released by the Department of Transportation on Friday show that the average airfare at the Memphis International Airport has dropped by more than $93 since 2012. Round-trip airfares in Memphis averaged $418.70 compared with $511.93 in 2012. Memphis International Airport has dropped from one of the highest-ranking cites on the list of high fares to 30th out of 100 airports across the country.
That's due in large part to Delta's 2013 de-hubbing of Memphis International Airport. Once Delta pulled out, the doors were opened for more low-cost carriers, such as Southwest Airlines and Frontier Airlines. Just yesterday, Frontier Airlines announced a new non-stop, low-cost flight to Atlanta out of Memphis International Airport.
“This is very positive news for the Memphis community," said Scott Brockman, president and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. "What we’re seeing here is the effect of competition and an influx of low-cost air carriers that are helping to make flights more affordable. While the airport does not set airfares, we can help to positively impact them by adding competition.”
In 2015, Memphis International added 12 new flights and three new airlines.