MSP News - October 2015

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REAL ID Update

generic drivers license

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that it will continue to allow citizens with state identification cards that do not comply with the Federal REAL ID Act to continue to use their current, valid state identification to fly out of U.S. airports for some time after Jan. 1, 2016.

In recent months, air travelers from Minnesota have been concerned about their ability to fly after the first of the year since the state's regular drivers license does not comply with the Act. Current Minnesota law prohibits the Minnesota Department of Public Safety from taking any actions to comply with the federal mandate.

In a statement dated, Oct. 9, 2015, the DHS said, "Until announced otherwise, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept valid driver’s licenses and identification cards issued by all states. DHS plans to announce the schedule for any changes to air travel requirements by the end of the year, and will ensure that state governments and the traveling public are notified at least 120 days in advance of implementation."

On Wed. this week, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton said he would seek an extension from federal authorities to give Minnesota time to comply with the law. (Read the Nov. 4, 2015 StarTribune article.)

If Minnesota remains out of compliance long-term, Minnesotans will need a compliant ID, such as a passport or an enhanced driver's license (already available from the state Department of Public Safety), to fly. 

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Sun Country signs five-year contract with pilots union

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Congratulations to Sun Country Airlines and their pilots for coming to agreement on a contract, ensuring the Hometown Airline can continue to serve its customers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

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aircraft viewing area
MSP's new aircraft viewing area located at the end of Cargo Road

MSP opens outdoor aircraft viewing area

On a recent gorgeous Saturday morning, aircraft and aviation enthusiasts in and around the Twin Cities were given something special to celebrate: the opening of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's (MSP) public outdoor aircraft viewing area. 

Located in the heart of MSP’s airfield, this new space provides spectacular views of aircraft takeoffs and landings.

“I’ve always thought MSP Airport should have a place for the public to watch airplanes land and takeoff,” said Dan Boivin, Chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, at a ribbon cutting event held today. “When MSP first opened its doors for commercial air travel, people were able to come right up to the fence. Then, when Terminal 1-Lindbergh was constructed, we offered an indoor observation deck to anyone who wished to make the trip to the airport. But since 2002, when new security regulations were put in place, we haven’t had a designated public space for this activity – until now.”

The space includes parking, picnic tables, and benches. Trees have been planted that, when mature, will provide shade and natural beauty. The wonder of flight will always be front and center at the space though, with a fantastic perspective of activities on multiple runways.

Access to the viewing area is from the west side of the airport. To get to the viewing area from Richfield or Cedar Avenue, travel on 66th St. east to Longfellow Avenue and follow Longfellow south to Cargo Road. Follow Cargo Road to its end at the new viewing area. From Bloomington,or I-494, take 24th Ave. north to 77th St. Take 77th St. west to Longfellow Road, and follow Longfellow north to Cargo Road. Turn right on Cargo Road and follow it to the new viewing area, located just past and the Federal Express shipping facility. For a map, go to

The space is open every day, dawn to dusk. 

crowd shot of AVA
Aircraft and aviation enthusiasts listen as MAC Chair, Dan Boivin, officially opens MSP's aircraft viewing area

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MSN Travel names MSP one of world's top 5 easiest airports to get to

Terminal 2 LRT

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We were thrilled last month to be named by MSN Travel as one of the world's five easiest airports to get to. One of the reasons for such an accolade is the airport's Light Rail Transit service, provided by MetroTransit, which also provides public bus service to the airport. 

Automated Passport Control kiosks now available at Terminal 2

APC kiosk at MSP airport

Ten Automated Passport Control (APC) kiosks are now available at Terminal 2-Humphrey.

The new APC kiosks enable travelers to scan their passport and complete their Customs declaration electronically. Kiosk users follow simple on-screen instructions to obtain a receipt confirming their identity and flight information. Passengers then bring the receipt and their passport to a Customs and Border Protection officer for final processing.

The APC service is free to all international travelers with a U.S. or Canadian passport and does not require pre-registration.

APC kiosks have been available at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's Terminal 1-Lindbergh for approximately one year. 

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Fly - An MSP Airport digital travel & lifestyle magazine

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Stay up on all MSP Airport has to offer with Fly magazine! Featuring destination city guides, product and restaurant reviews, events and happenings, and interviews with well-traveled Minnesotans, Fly aims to keep you informed and energized for the trip ahead. 

Check out these recent stories: 

Stay fly-subscribe today!

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Increase in passengers, decrease in flights continues at MSP

In Sept., Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport experienced a 6.49 percent increase in passengers over Sept. 2014, while flight numbers decreased by 0.51 percent over last year. Year-to-date, passenger numbers are up 3.21 percent and flights are down 2.48 percent.

September is typically one of the slowest months of the year at MSP, making these numbers all the more surprising - and exciting. 

"Airport passenger numbers are an indicator of a community's economic health," says Jeff Hamiel, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. "We're delighted to see this trend continue - and that the airlines continue to carry more people per flight than ever before, resulting in fewer flights impacting neighboring communities."

Historical and detailed operations and passenger statistics can be found on the MSP Airport website at: 

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