Airport Partner Updates

Keeping our passengers, guests, tenants and employees healthy and safe is our top priority. Sharing information is key to our airport's successful operation. This webpage was designed to provide you with current updates on TYS operations, public communication efforts and to provide answers to questions that impact TYS. It is our hope that this webpage will be a resource to airport tenants  and will provide you with quality, timely airport information. We will update it as new information becomes available.

May 15, 2020 Update -  Ruby Tuesday has opened their dining room and will be open until the last outbound airplane leaves each day. The State has not allowed bar areas to reopen, however, they can now return to selling alcohol.  Paradies and HMS Host will continue with the same operating schedule. The Airport Hilton will continue to do take out orders and has a daily lunch special since the buffet is closed.

May 1, 2020 Update -Governor Bill Lee’s Stay-At-Home order has been lifted, which relaxes some of the restrictions placed upon businesses serving food, including the airport. For TYS, this has impacted our food concessions. Ruby Tuesday has opened their dining room and will be open until the last outbound airplane leaves each day. The State has not allowed bar areas to reopen, however, they can now return to selling alcohol. Paradies and HMS Host will continue with the same operating schedule. The Airport Hilton will continue to do take out orders.

Good news came from the FAA this week regarding the runway project. We received notice that we will be getting a grant that will allow us to complete the Runway 5L/23R project.

The most recent episode of the airport’s podcast, From the Runway Up, is a discussion on the impacts that COVID-19 has had on TYS and the aviation industry in general. I would encourage you to listen to the podcast at FromTheRunwayUp.com, on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or anywhere
you listen to podcast.

April 24, 2020 Update - To help Tennesseans forward during the COVID-19 Pandemic, the Tennessee Department of Health and Human Services is increasing access to child care at no cost for Tennessee workers who are providing essential businesses or services. This child care is available through payment assistance with licensed child care agencies and through a partnership with Tennessee YMCAs and Boys & Girls Clubs. Airport employees are considered essential employees and are eligible for this program. For more information, visit www.tn.gov/humanservices.

The MKAA Board of Commissioners’ meeting was held on April 22, 2020, electronically. We were able to record the meeting and have posted two audio files your review. The first is the President's Report on the current state of MKAA operations. It is 6:30 minutes long. The second audio file is an air service update by Jim Evans, Vice President of Marketing and Air Service Development. It is 9 minutes long, but it will give you a good understanding of what to expect in the coming months for flights and passenger traffic at TYS.

April 17, 2020 Update - The Tennessee Department of Health is offering COVID-19 testing at no cost at the Blount County Health Department. It does not require a doctor’s order. They will be testing from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday through Friday at 301 McGhee Street in Maryville. For more information, please call (865) 983-4582 or visit www.tn.gov/health.

April 15, 2020 Update - The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced yesterday via press release that McGhee Tyson Airport would receive $25,830,652 in funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) while Downtown Island Airport (DKX) would receive $69,000.

According to the FAA press release, the CARES Act funding will support airport operations and replace lost revenue resulting from the decline of passenger traffic and reduction of airport business due to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) public health emergency. The funds can be used for airport capital expenses, airport operating expenses including payroll and utilities, and
debt payments.

For a copy of the FAA press release, please visit https://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=24882.

April 9, 2020 Update - This webpage went live today for airport tenants and stakeholders and will serve as a source of information on TYS and its operations. It is available 24 hours a day. If you have a request for information that needs to be updated on this page, please email them to info@tys.org.

The Airport Authority is currently hosting a weekly (and more often if needed) Joint Airport Operations / Airline / Aviation Stakeholder Teleconference. This Telecon will provide an update on Airport Operations issues related to the COVID-19 Pandemic and also to answer questions that you may have. If you think your company, agency or business should participate, please contact us at Operations@tys.org to enroll and receive invitations to the call. You will need to supply your company name and contact information in your email.

The schedules of many of our Airport Authority Staff have changed dramatically to enable social distancing. We now have many more staff members working on weekends, as well as earlier and later hours.  If you routinely rely on certain staff members to help you or support you on certain issues, they may now be working a different schedule.  Please do not hesitate to contact our Airport Communications Center if you have not been able to reach your usual contact person.  The Airport Communications Center (Dispatch) phone number is 865-342-3088.

April 1, 2020 Update - The local media will run stories today discussing the estimated change in the number of flights and passengers we are expecting in April. Our estimations were based upon information provided by the airlines that serve TYS. This is our media statement:

The COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic has had a major impact on flights into and out of McGhee Tyson Airport since mid-March. Our staff has been in constant communication with the airlines that serve our market in an effort to support their operations and to determine daily flight estimations for April 2020. As of today, we anticipate that the number of scheduled flights from McGhee Tyson Airport in April will be down 50% and that passenger numbers will be down 85%. We also anticipate that we will see flight cancellations each day while the US complies with President Donald Trump’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America and Tennesseans comply with Governor Bill Lee’s “Safe at Home” Executive Order. We are open and will continue to provide flights that support our nation’s critical functions such as essential travel, medical transportation, supply delivery, and cargo operations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is McGhee Tyson Airport (TYS) open? TYS is open and operating. The “Stay at Home Order” issued by Governor Bill Lee does not include air transportation or airports. Even as passenger traffic slows, your work continues to be critical to the region. Air transportation, and your contribution to the airport, enables our community to continue to provide essential travel to those who need it while also receiving necessary supplies and resources.  We are continuing to provide this service while also prioritizing the health and safety of all airport employees.

2. Where can I find more information about the coronavirus and its impact on operations at TYS?  For TYS operational information, you can visit this website. It will be updated when new information becomes available.  You are also encouraged to visit the Knox County Health Department , State of Tennessee Health Department or the CDC (for impact on travel as well)  for current updates on the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

3. What extra precautions are being taken? We will continue to comply with CDC prevention guidelines and have taken the following measures to supplement our established cold and flu season cleaning efforts:

At TYS:

  • Restrooms are cleaned hourly with multipurpose cleaner, degreaser and sanitizer.
  • No contact vapor sterilizers are used daily with hospital grade disinfectant.
  • Hand sanitizer is in all airport restrooms, employee break rooms and copy rooms.
  • We have increased cleaning of highly used areas of the terminal building where passengers and guests congregate.
  • We are practicing safe social distancing (at least 6 ft) and encourage you to do the same.

4.  What precautions should employees be taking? The best precautions you can take are simple, but they are important and effective:

 *   Wash your hands regularly
 *   Stay home if you are sick
 *   Avoid contact with those who are sick
 *   Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze/cough
 *   Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
 *   Get a flu shot if you haven’t already

5.  Are airport restaurants open? In compliance with Governor Bill Lee’s executive order to suspend in-person dining, airport concessionaires are offering carry-out food only, with a limited menu. They have reduced their hours of operation or closed temporarily. Food concessions are available each day from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. with snacks available at the Paradies concourse location until 8 p.m.  Paradies' pre-security location is closed today for restocking but its concourse location will be officially opened today. Starbucks will be open from 5 a.m. to 10 a.m. only. The Airport Hilton is also providing take out options. Please follow social distancing guidelines while waiting to pick up orders.

6. What does the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES) mean to our airport?  Airports and airlines are in great need for financial relief. We are reviewing its potential impacts on our airports and will be updating you soon. Please check back to this webpage for the update.

10. If I have a question, who do I contact? You are encouraged to contact your supervisor with any questions you may have. You may also email airport questions to info@tys.org.