Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, also referred to by the airport code MSP, provides domestic and international air service to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul as well as much of Minnesota and Wisconsin. The airport is the largest in a multi-state region providing hub service and connecting flights from North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa and Wisconsin as well as its home state. The airport ranks in the top 15 in the United States and top 30 of the world based on air traffic.
History of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Airport
An old and bankrupt automotive racing track became the first airport in Minneapolis about 1920. The airport was renamed the Wold-Chamberlain Field in honor of a pair of World War I aviators in the early 1920s. As the fields importance in passenger air traffic grew, it was renamed Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Airport/Wold-Chamberlain Field. This lengthy name gave way to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 1948.
Through all the name changes, the airport continued to grow and has undergone multiple upgrades and expansions.
The airport also serves as a military base with elements of the U.S. Air Force, the Air Force Reserve and the Minnesota Air National Guard. The reserve and guard units both fly transport aircraft utilizing Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport as a base of operation. The base includes about 1,200 regular duty and a similar number of reserve personnel.
Airports in northern climates always include deicing and snow removal equipment and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is no exception. Specialized deicing stations prepare aircraft for winter flights in snowy weather. Snow removal equipment on the runways can delay some flights at the airport during inclement weather.
The airport pays tribute to a couple of famous Minnesotans in the form of its two terminals. The Lindbergh Terminal, named for aviator Charles Lindbergh, is divided into multiple concourses provides the bulk of the counters and gates. The Humphrey Terminal, named for political figure Hubert H. Humphrey, operates a single concourse. Passengers move between the two terminals on a people mover which also connects to parking and transportation centers at the airport. The two terminals provide a total of about 125 gates along with a dozen baggage claim areas. A total of about 35 million people utilize the airport each year. This breaks down to nearly 3 million per month or about 100,000 passengers per day.
The airport is approaching its stated capacity of about 36 million passengers per year. The airport is following an expansion plan known as MSP 2020 Vision, which includes expanding the number of gates, adding additional parking facilities and improving baggage handling facilities. The plan anticipates boosting passenger handling capacity to about 42 million people per year. Total costs for the expansion could approach $750 million with the airport managers anticipating another $300 million in additional projects.
The plan also includes continuing the airports ongoing effort to provide additional sound insulation and other noise abatement features to homes in the region surrounding the airport. This process of sound-proofing homes was compromise reached in the 1980s to requests from residents to move the airport further from suburban Minneapolis.
Noise problems have been a concern at the airport for years. Aircraft using one of the airport’s runways approach over the area of the Mall of America shopping center. The airport places noise restrictions on all aircraft from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. local time each day.
Airlines Serving MSP
Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport is a hub for Delta Airlines, Great Lakes Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines. It was formerly the main base for Northwest Airlines, before its merger with Delta Airlines in 2009.
In addition to civilian airlines, the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport Join Air Reserve Station also supports the Air Force Reserve Command and the Air National Guard on airport grounds.
Delta Airlines is by far the largest source of passenger traffic for the airport, with more than 80% of visitors flying Delta. Minneapolis-Saint Paul is the third-largest hub airport for Delta Airlines, behind only Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
Besides the three hub airlines, a total of 12 airlines have a presence at Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport. They include Air Canada Express, Air France, Air Tran Airways, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, American Eagle, Frontier Airlines, Icelandair, Spirit Airlines, United Airlines, United Express, and US Airways.
The airport is divided into two terminals, the Lindbergh Terminal (Terminal 1) and the Humphrey Terminal (Terminal 2). There are 8 concourses in total. Concourses A-G are located in Terminal 1, and Concourse H is located in Terminal 2.
The majority of airlines are found in Concourses A-G in Terminal 1. Only Air Tran Airways, Icelandair, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Sun Country Airlines are located in Concourse H.
The top three domestic routes in terms of total passengers are Denver, Colorado, Chicago (O’Hare), Illinois, and Atlanta, Georgia. Other top destinations include Phoenix, Arizona, Seattle, Washington, Los Angeles, California, Las Vegas, Nevada, Detroit, Michigan, Chicago (Midway), Illinois, and Orlando, Florida.
The top three international routes in terms of total passengers are Amsterdam, Netherlands, and Tokyo (Narita), Japan. Other top destinations include Cancún, Mexico; Toronto (Pearson), Canada; Winnipeg, Canada; Calgary, Canada; Vancouver, Canada; Edmonton, Canada; London (Heathrow), United Kingdom; and Paris (Charles de Gualle), France.