Ceremony Honors Local, State Leadership In Memphis
Posted on September 21, 2004
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) hailed the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority and the Tennessee National Guard at a signing ceremony today for their commitment to strengthen military readiness and bolster jobs and growth in Memphis and the Mid-South region. The Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority (MSCAA) and the U.S. Air Force, along with officials from the National Guard Bureau and the Tennessee National Guard, finalized a land exchange agreement to relocate existing Tennessee Air National Guard (TANG) facilities to a new location at the airport. The agreement will move TANG facilities from the north side of the Memphis International Airport to the southeast corner of the airport. The relocation will allow the 164th Airlift Wing to build new facilities to accommodate its new fleet of C-5 Galaxy aircraft and permit FedEx to consolidate and potentially expand its operations at the Memphis hub. "The Memphis International Airport contributes $13 billion annually to the Mid-South economy. It's been the world's largest cargo airport for the past 12 years. Today's announcement ensures that the National Guard's new C-5 Galaxy aircraft are mission-ready at a moment's notice, and provides FedEx with additional space to consolidate operations and facilitate future expansion," said Frist. "I commend everyone involved for all of their hard work and commitment to making this a reality for Memphis. This agreement reflects the possibilities created from true partnerships between military, government and community leaders." "This agreement adds 580,000 new square feet of buildings at the airport to accommodate the Tennessee Air National Guard's new C-5 aircraft and will streamline FedEx operations," said Alexander. "It is a win-win partnership that gives our guardsmen and women the resources and facilities they need, while continuing to help FedEx and the Memphis International Airport build upon their international success." "This is one of the most significant events in the history of the Memphis International Airport. With this relocation, the airport is poised to better serve all of its partners. We will be able to ensure that everyone has room to grow and that we will get full utilization of our internationally recognized World Runway," said MSCAA Chairman Arnold Perl. "The relocation of the Tennessee Air National Guard at Memphis International Airport is an excellent example of cooperation between country and community which will create a new home for a new mission. Cooperation between the local airport community, government officials and the nation's military works to the benefit of everyone involved." The 164th Airlift Wing of the TANG stationed at the Memphis International Airport was scheduled to convert from the C-141 Starlifter to the C-5 Galaxy beginning in 2004. The C-5 is one of the largest aircraft in the world and will significantly enhance the Guard's mission capabilities. Prior to the land exchange agreement, the Guard planned to undertake a series of projects to upgrade existing facilities and construct new larger facilities to support the C-5. However, prior to any upgrades, the MSCAA and FedEx approached the Guard to discuss a possible land exchange and relocation of the existing facilities. The relocation allows FedEx to expand into the site currently occupied by the Guard and provides the 164th Airlift Wing with an expandable cantonment area for the new C-5s that will be fully compliant with new anti-terrorism and force protection requirements. Upon completion of the relocation, Memphis will be the first fully compliant Air Wing in the Air National Guard. The land exchange agreement was finalized on August 5, and stipulates that the MSCAA will provide funding for replacement facilities at the new location and the Air National Guard will fund the balance of the costs associated with the requirements for the new C-5 facilities. Late Monday, the land exchange was formally signed by the MSCAA and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Fred W. Kuhn.