MSP - The Ideal Airport?

MSP - The Ideal Airport?

A Bit About Minneapolis
To understand its airport, you need to understand the city. The Minneapolis/Saint Paul Metro area is home to about 4 million people, and is a major economic, healthcare, industry, and commerce hub in the Upper Midwest. The Twin Cities are known for their high quality of life and desirability. USA Today ranked the MSP Metro as the 3rd best place to live in America. A critical factor in the airport's success is the businesses. Many, many large companies are based in and around the Twin Cities, including Target, Best Buy, 3M, Ecolab, United HealthCare, Kellogg, General Mills, and Land o Lakes, just to name a few. Cargill, the world's largest privately owned corporation is headquartered just outside Minneapolis. "Business travel is a huge part of our operation here at Minneapolis," said MSP's Scott Skramstad in an email. ***
A Tiny Bit of History
Opened in July of 1920 as Speedway Field, on an abandoned racetrack, the airport was just a dusty runway and a couple of wood hangars, visited every few days by airmail pilots. When Northwest Airlines was founded in the 1920s, the airport was fueled by the growth of the airline, and by the 1940s was one of the biggest in the country.

In 1945, Northwest Orient launched flights from Minneapolis to Beijing and Tokyo, via Anchorage, a first for any airline. The airport continued to grow as flying became more and more commonplace.

When Northwest collapsed in 2008, Delta bought out most of its modern Airbus fleet, many of which still bless the runways of MSP to this day.

The Perfect Location
The saying in real estate "location, location, location" indeed holds true in the aviation world. Minnesota is practically in the dead center of the country, nearly equadistant from both coasts. The flight from New York is about 3 hours, just a half hour shorter than the route from San Francisco. For connections, this is ideal. Its relative proximity to Canada is a huge bonus, as MSP has the 3rd largest US - Canada operation in the United States, behind Seattle and New York. MSP is a critical point for people from small towns in the neighboring states to easily pass on to destinations globally.

Delta Connection has hundreds of daily flights across the region, a huge part of Minneapolis’s operation.

The Layout
MSP has 4 runways, all situated around the two main terminals, T1 and T2. Delta and the other major carriers, plus most international Arlines, operate out of Terminal One. Sun Country, plus most of the LCCs are at T2. There are a few exemptions (like Spirit is at Terminal One, and Icelandair is at Terminal Two), which will all be fixed with the Long - Term Plan (more on that in a minute). Unfortunately, T1 and T2 aren't connected airside. Ground was broken recently on a monorail that connects the two to make intra airline connections easier. It's expected to be completed in Fall of 2025.
Long - Term Improvement Plan
Minneapolis - Saint Paul International Airport is one of America's fastest growing airports. By 2040, it's expected to process 50 million passengers annually. The Metropolitan Airport Commission (MAC), who operate 7 Minneapolis area airports (6 GA and MSP), recently laid out their massive, $1.8 billion dollar airport improvement plan. Another concourse will be added to Terminal 1, intended for Delta to increase their capacity. Terminal 2 will be massively increased and totally revamped internally, to replace the aging interior design. Sun Country Airlines is working closely with MAC, as their MSP operation is "completely at capacity" and are in desperate need for more space. Rumor has it, remote stands will be used to increase capacity until the terminal is complete.

A second Delta SkyLounge is expected to be added, and the airline is investing $500 million into the project to improve parts of Terminal 1. According to MAC, the Terminal 1 interior remodel will include:
• More accessible and durable Terrazzo flooring to replace the carpet in passenger corridors in concourses A, C, D and G, and new carpet in concourses B and F
• New wall finishes, including quarter-height granite in public corridors and tile in Delta gate hold rooms
• Brighter, more modern and sustainable LED lighting in concourse walkways and gate areas
• Metal panel ceiling system in the majority of concourse walkways
• New structural column covers
• Technology upgrades that include dynamic flight information screens along concourse walkways at every gate.
• Full refresh of 75 Delta gate hold rooms
• New gate seating with power outlets
• New carpeting in gate areas to mirror experience at other Delta hub airports
• Updated gate information display screens
• Refreshed Delta branding across all gate areas


Wow - lots of extremely interesting info there! MSP is truly an underrated airport!

Great job!

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Thank you!

I think Minneapolis isn’t necessarily underrated from the passengers standpoint. Year after year, it wins awards for being the best large airport in the United States. But I think it’s undderrecognized in terms of being a critical airport in moving people. When we think of these big international hubs, we talk about LAX, JFK, LHR - big airports in big cities.

I think Minneapolis is a rising star in this field. They also do the critically important work of connecting small communities to destinations across the world.


Another great article @Mort! MSP has always been one of those hub airports I’ve been really interested in, I love the logistical standpoint of the hub and spoke model.

MSP ❤️

Rip to 30R/12L being shut down for a while while it’s getting resurfaced though.

That’s kind of a bummer. Definitely going to cause some weird arrival patterns and departure delays until it’s all sorted.

A small part of this is too bad. But the best part is that 12R/30L will be used a lot and that is right next to the spotting area! 👀 I know where I’ll try to be this summer several times.

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It’s definitely a good time to do that. I always make sure to bring a ladder for photography, because of that fence.

I back my truck into a parking spot and stand in the box. Ladder problem solved 😆


Ahh! Smart!

Nice topic. Also Minneapolis houses the best hospital in the world called the Mayo Clinic if I’m correct? You must be lucky @Mort being a stones throw away from the best hospital in the world. Nice topic, it’s nice people showing some love to their home airports and MSP seems very nice to go to.


You’re right on part of that. Minneapolis has tons of medical stuff (large trauma hospitals, as well as major research/university hospitals), but Mayo Clinic, which is indeed the best hospital in the world, is in Rochester, Minnesota, about 90 minutes by car from Minneapolis.

I’d say it is! Stop by if you ever get the chance.

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