UPDATE, SATURDAY: Memphis International Airport (MEM) will reopen its passenger terminal at 3 p.m. on Saturday, airport officials announced. On Friday, water pressure related issued caused the airport to cancel all commercial flights.
Temporary restroom facilities will be set up outside of the B ticketing lobby and on the ramp outside of both the A and C concourses.
Friday’s story is below.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis International Airport announced all passenger flights have been canceled Friday due to low water pressure in its terminal.
In an update at 5:30 p.m., the airport said they do not expect to reopen Friday.
The airport is in contact and MLGW, which is working to solve the problem. The airport is also looking at short-term options to get restrooms and passenger flights back up and running.
MLGW sent WREG’s Zaneta Lowe a message explaining that the water main breaks and freezing temperatures seen throughout the area have caused low water pressure problems.
“This is an issue we will continue to address over the next few days and into the weekend. We are asking all MLGW customers to continue to conserve their water usage,” the company said.
WREG’s Quametra Wilborn reported live from the airport early Friday morning and said many of the workers have gone home for the day. A lot of passengers, unaware of the changes, made the trek to the airport for early morning flights only to be told they had been canceled. She said many of them were unhappy and looking for answers on when they would be able to travel.
“I don’t know. I just got here and I finally got an email saying everything was canceled,” said passenger Alicia Johns. “Now I’m looking for Greyhound to see how that’s going to work because I’m really trying to make it. I’m determined to leave today.”
Tim Meza said the closure is a huge inconvenience. He said this was the second time his flight has been canceled this week and expects Memphis to be home for a few more days.
Airport officials said in a statement that this couldn’t be avoided as they need significant amounts of water for restrooms, operations, food and beverage, and the airlines.
“This is a last resort for MEM,” said Scott Brockman, President and CEO of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority. “A passenger airport cannot function without a safe and dependable water supply, which we do not have at this time. Our staff is committed to providing a safe, sanitary and secure operation. We hope that MLGW is able to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.”
The airport had been experiencing intermittent problems all week, having to close some restrooms and all of the restaurants. Then Thursday night the water levels dropped so low that it was “no longer feasible” to continue with flights.
The terminal will remain closed until water pressure has been restored, the airport said.
Cargo operations have not been affected.