Memphis Intl. Fall Break numbers show promise for holiday season

Airport’s growth prompts TSA hiring event
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - As the November 22 deadline set by the Biden Administration to have all Federal employees vaccinated gradually approaches, there have been recent concerns with TSA’s workforce vaccination status.

“We have about 60% of our workforce has been vaccinated,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske, in a recent interview with CNN. “That number needs to go quite a bit higher over the next few weeks.”

But is the Bluff City an area of concern?

Local TSA says no.

“We will follow along with anything to do with any Federal regulations that come out,” said said Wesley Henderson, TSA’s Asst. Federal Security Director for Tennessee.” From an agency level, we’ll handle those, but it doesn’t impact our recruiting event that we’re doing here.”

Henderson told us TSA is looking to fill 50 positions at MEM.

The agency held a hiring event, the first one in Memphis, strictly based on the growth the Mid-South airport has seen, Henderson said.

“The number of passengers flying through Memphis is continuing to grow,” said Henderson. “We’re bouncing back from the impact of the pandemic, and we’re getting ready for a busy holiday season.”

“It’s very encouraging for the aviation industry,” said Glen Thomas, MEM’s Public Information Officer (PIO).

The Memphis International Airport (MEM) received its Fall Break numbers from TSA Wednesday afternoon, showing 38,000 passed through the airport’s checkpoints over that weekend, nearly double from 2020 during the pandemic (21,000).

“The market is really being carried by leisure travelers, still,” said Glen Thomas, PIO for MEM. “Business travel hasn’t returned to the levels that it was in 2019.”

Thomas says even with the lack of “robust” business travel at MEM, the airport is still reporting 85% of what travel numbers were before the pandemic, and once business travel picks back up the numbers will be bigger than ever.

For those who may be flying for the first time since the start of the pandemic, there is still a Federal mask mandate at all U.S. airports.

Thomas advises travelers flying out of Memphis to get here at least two hours early and check with your ticketed airline for any potential change of schedules.

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