MSP News - June 2015

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terminal 2 expansion

Expansion of Terminal 2-Humphrey will move forward

Metropolitan Airports Commission board members on June 15 voted to approve the bid award for construction of three new aircraft gates (four jet bridge positions) at Terminal 2-Humphrey.

The decision came after a one-month delay to consider the potential impacts should Sun Country Airlines reduce or ultimately discontinue airline operations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) as it has threatened. Sun Country has been in labor contract negotiations with its pilots for several years and recently commented that, if they could not come to an agreement, the airline may be shuttered.

“The original reasons for constructing the gates continue to be valid, even if Sun Country were to cease operations altogether,” said Gary Warren, executive vice president planning, development and environment. “In the most likely planning scenarios, these new gates will be necessary to provide growth opportunities for new airlines, support organic growth for the current Terminal 2 airlines and provide a level of service enhancement to all users of Terminal 2.”

In addition to the new gates, the $27.5 million project will add amenities such as a new restrooms, a nursing mother’s room, lactation room and indoor pet relief area as well as the airport’s first green roof system.

Airport board votes to establish minimum wage for almost 3000 airport workers

baggage handlers at airport

Historically, workers who cleaned aircraft or provided wheelchair or electric cart assistance to passengers needing help to their gates were employed directly by airlines and received airline-quality compensation packages. That has changed in recent years, as airlines have outsourced work that third-party vendors can provide at less cost.

To compete for the airline work, those vendors have had to keep their overhead – including labor costs – low. Consequently, people doing the same work for third-party vendors that airline workers performed in the past often earn much less, with some making only minimum wage.

MAC board members have worked for months to address concerns related to this workforce. In December, the board required all such vendors with 21 or more employees to provide workers with paid sick leave. The board also passed a requirement ensuring that, should airlines change vendors, the new vendors would have to retain existing employees for at least 90 days.

The wage issue was more complicated. Minnesota law is silent as to whether local units of government like the MAC can exceed state minimum wage requirements. Minnesota lawmakers introduced but didn't pass legislation in the recently ended session that would have explicitly prevented entities like the MAC from taking such action. Moreover, airlines have challenged a number of other airports in court for setting airline or airline vendor wage requirements above state minimums. If the MAC board did choose to take such action, how far beyond the state minimum should it go?

On an 11-to-four vote, the MAC board on Monday voted to set the minimum wage for these workers at MSP $1 above the Minnesota minimum wage, effective Aug. 1, 2015. Whenever the state minimum rises, the MSP minimum will also rise to maintain a $1 advantage for impacted airport workers over the state minimum. The MAC is the first governmental unit in Minnesota to establish a higher-than-state minimum wage for services not provided for or on behalf of the governmental unit.

The Minnesota minimum wage, currently $8 an hour, will rise $1, to $9, on Aug. 1. Covered workers at MSP will see a $2 raise on that date, however, from $8 to $10, since that is also when the airport minimum wage becomes effective, providing those employees a 25% increase in pay.

Noting the split vote on the MSP minimum wage requirement, MAC Chairman Dan Boivin said, "Because a Commissioner voted 'no' here does not mean that they don't support higher wages. In fact, I think every one of them would not pay minimum wage to their workers in this kind of situation. It's just a philosophical difference about whether an entity such as the MAC should engage itself in policies traditionally left to the state and federal government."

The chairman noted that, while the increase wasn't as much as some would have liked, it helps workers while still enabling MSP to keep costs to airlines competitive with other airports with which MSP competes for service. 

"I think we've reached a great deal, and I'm happy to have it pass today," Chair Boivin said. 

Delta begins daily, nonstop Honolulu service in November

It’s back! On Nov. 19, 2015, Delta Air Lines will begin flying daily nonstop flights to Honolulu, Hawaii from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. 

“We are extremely pleased Delta chose to resume its daily nonstop service to Honolulu,” said Jeff Hamiel, executive director/CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “Ever since nonstop service was discontinued in 2011 we’ve heard from many travelers that they want it back.” 

The daily nonstop service continues through March 26. 

Cuba now a possibility from MSP

On Monday, May 11, direct access to Cuba via Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) became a possibility for airlines when the Customs and Border Patrol approved MSP as a port for direct flights to Havana.

While no airline has scheduled service yet, MSP is now among the few U.S. airports where such service is possible. 

New artwork adds color, whimsy to MSP

msp illustration

Minneapolis artist Bill Ferenc is a man of wide-ranging interests. Hip-hop, Harry Potter, skateboarding, outer space—all of these subjects and more are depicted in his charming and colorful illustrations.

In search of an unexpected and unique way to celebrate MSP Airport, as well to showcase the airport’s iconic shops and restaurants, we asked Ferenc to create an illustration for MSP. From sushi at Shoyu to reading at Red Balloon to the oversized bull at Barrio, his delightful image (above) perfectly captures the airport’s eclectic and vibrant atmosphere.

Ferenc’s work can now be seen as a wall mural on Concourse C, near Gate 22, as well as on banners in the Terminal 1-Lindbergh Ticketing Lobby.

Tips for a smooth parking experience at MSP

With so much to think about when planning a trip, parking can almost be an afterthought. It's your first and last experience of MSP, so we've put together a few tips to ensure your MSP parking experience is a pleasant one:

  • To help remember where you parked, take a photograph of the icon (musical instrument, sports player, one of the seven wonders, or an animal) painted on the wall leading to the elevator bays. 
  • Always call ahead or check online for the status of parking availability. Terminal 1 can fill up mid-week. 
  • Drive an electric vehicle? We’ve got you covered. Literally. If you want to juice up while you’re away, park at one of our 14 (soon to be 18) electric vehicle charging stations. Go to for specific locations.
  • If you fly frequently, you may want to consider signing up for our guaranteed parking product. Call 612-726-5650 or go online at
  • Remember, Terminal 1 now has an economical option for price-conscious travelers: Check out the new Quick Ride Ramp on the MSP campus, a five-minute shuttle ride to Terminal 1.

Seeking mosaic artists

mosaic artwork

The Airport Foundation MSP, through the MSP Arts and Culture Program, seeks mosaic artists to provide designs for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s (MSP) ongoing restroom remodeling initiative.

“This is a very visible, high recognition arts commission,” says Robyne Robinson, arts and culture director for the Airport Foundation MSP.  “More than 32 million people travel through MSP Airport every year.  Our goal is to give each and every person a unique perspective of Minnesota through the eyes of our most imaginative, aesthetically gifted residents.”   

The first restroom mosaics were installed in 2013 and can be found on both Concourse E and Concourse F at MSP. The mosaics can be seen by anyone passing by the facilities. (The mosaic shown is on Concourse E and was created by Barbara Keith.)

The restroom remodeling project is a multi-year project that will, in the end, result in all 100 sets of restrooms being updated. The overriding goal is to provide travelers an attractive and efficient restroom design. The artists’ work will help make these restrooms easily identifiable and add to the quality of the guest’s experience. 

Interested artists can download the Request for Qualifications at Submissions are due July 31, 2015.

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