New president and CEO has big plans for MEM - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

New president and CEO has big plans for MEM

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC-TV) - A new president and CEO will take the reigns at Memphis International Airport, as Larry Cox plans to retire after 29 years on the job.

"This airport is my life," said Cox. "I've been recruiting Southwest Airlines for 25 years. They know me by first name."

After more than four decades at Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority and nearly 29 as president and CEO, Cox will retire.

"The government has allowed all of these airlines to consolidate through bankruptcy and it has been a tough business," he said.

Tough enough that both Cox and longtime airport board chairman Arnold Perl have both retired within the last 10 months.

"We will tell our story differently, much more openly and passionately because that's the way I am," said Scott Brockman, who will become the new CEO and president.

Brockman is currently the chief operating officer. He is ready to lead the next chapter at Memphis International Airport, one that is filled with challenges of reduced service and the need for increased competition.

"We now have to reinvent this facility as an origin and destination airport. So we now have to focus on people coming in specifically to do business in Memphis and people that want to travel from Memphis," explained Brockman.

These changes come amidst good news about the cost of airfare in Memphis. The airport used to be considered one of the top five most expensive in the country. Now, it is out in the top ten.

Airport leaders point to added service from Southwest Airlines as a major factor bringing down prices.

"I'm in continual discussions with our friends at Southwest, Allegiant, Spirit, and others," said Shelby County Airport Authority Chairman Jack Sammons.

But next month, Delta Airlines will move about one-third of its flights out of Memphis, creating a need for more service and more airlines.

Airport leaders say they are in talks about possibly bringing a new carrier to Memphis. An announcement is expected any day.

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