By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Some say the best kept secret of Shelby County is Millington, Tenn.
And the leaders of Flag City say one of the greatest unknown assets to call Millington home is the Millington-Memphis Airport. With current changes and construction on the campus of the facility, residents of Shelby County, the Mid-South and the Southeast will all know about the airport.
“We have two big projects,” MMA Executive Director Roy Remington said. “The first is the utilities changeover. Which is our $2.4 million project to take us from Navy provided utilities, sewer, water, electric grid over to municipal provided utilities. City of Millington sewer and City of Millington water and MLGW electric grid, so that is a significant project.
“The second big project we have underway is the $2.2 million renovation of the Barrel Hanger,” he continued. “Which is a 107,000 square-foot building that was left to us by the Navy. Right now we are performing a gut-rehab of that building. It has essentially been vacant since the Navy left. The building itself had much less been condemn.”
In 1993 the airport and about 2,000 acres of adjacent land was transferred to the City of Millington from Naval Air Station Memphis and then the Mid-South Naval Air Station. Back in 1942 the airport was established as a Naval Reserve Aviation Base in Millington.
For several years the airport was known as the Millington Municipal Airport. In 2016 the airport was renamed the Millington-Memphis Airport, operating as a public airport that primarily serves private and military aircraft.
Remington, the Millington Airport Authority Board and employees at MMA are ready to take full advantage of the changes underway in the near future.
“Our plans (for the hanger) is to market it to a repair and maintenance overhaul,” Remington said. “So that can take the form of an airline. It can take the form of a parts supplier. It can take the part of a third party that does maintenance for airlines and aircrafts.
“For the airport itself having municipal utilities provides us with reliable services,” he added. “We’ll have an infrastructure and it will achieve a longterm goal of the city which was to invest municipal operation from the Navy’s utilities.”
Since arriving in Millington, Remington has embraced the role of leading the Airport into the future. Remington won the 2015 Airport Manager of the Year presented by the Tennessee Division of Aeronautics. Remington is a 2001 graduate of Bolton High School and later earned his degree from St. Louis University. The Shelby County native joined the Millington Airport Authority in July 2013.
Under his leadership, Remington had overseen employment growth with the arrival of Crew Training International.
CTI operates civilian flight schools with management, administrators, flight instructors and aircraft mechanics. CTI has programs like Forces to Flyers which helps service people learn how to fly. Another program under the CTI umbrella is with The University of Memphis working with FedEx contributing $500,000 to the school for flight scholarships to help with the nationwide shortage of pilots.
Then there is the American Airlines Academy program designed to take a zero time candidate and carry them all the way through to becoming an first officer for American Airlines with no cost to the student.
CTI and other operations at the Millington-Memphis Airport are a convenient location just 12 miles north of Downtown Memphis. The airport has an 8,000 foot runway and apron space that allows us to accommodate aircraft of all sizes for commercial traffic, private planes and cargo carriers.
The airport has access to Highways 51 and 385 and Interstate 40. Now getting to the Airport will be easier in the near future with another project soon to be under construction.
“We’re working in close partnership with the City of Millington and the Millington Industrial Development Board to build a new entrance road that contacts the Airport with Navy Road,” Remington said. “That’s a project starts by Navy Credit Union and proceeds north.
“The vision here and what we’re trying to do is breathe new life into it,” he added. “Recapitalize the infrastructure, recruit business and help the Airport to grow and flourish like it is supposed to.”
Remington said 2019 will be a year of growth for the facility. The expansion and reconstruction will establish the Millington-Memphis Airport as one of the most important entities of Shelby County.
“Right now the Airport contributes $14 million annually to the local economy,” he said. “We support 117 jobs out here. So even now with the growth of the Shoppes of Millington Farms and that sort of thing, the people that work here are going out shopping and buying lunch. They contribute that kind of way.
“When you look at how Millington is positioned relatively to its competing suburban areas, we’re the only one that has an airport,” Remington continued. “So if you do a SWOT analysis on that, its a competitive advantage. So for Millington to succeed, we need to recruit employers with high paying job they can bring to the community. We need to encourage people who work here to live here.”
For the short term, the Airport will wrap up the utilities project, redo the parking lot and get the road finished.
“Longterm what we want to see is a large scale aviation manufacturer take tenancy in that hanger,” Remington said. “And then the new entrance road that contacts down to Navy cut through the heart of the Industrial Development Board Park.
“So we would hope the recruitment of that large employer and the development of the new road will spark more businesses to move into the area,” he concluded. “This area won’t look like an old Navy Base anymore but a thriving industrial park with a thriving airport in the middle of it.”
For more information, call 872-7495.