April 2016 MSP News

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republic rendering
Depiction of the new Republic restaurant at Terminal 1-Lindbergh

MSP Airport - Reimagined

Have you noticed? Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is experiencing a growth spurt. Passenger numbers are exceeding the forecast by nearly double, construction walls are popping up left and right - closeting a metamorphosis of restaurants and retails shops - roadways are shifting, and security checkpoints have moved. 

Like an awkward teen, we’ve got a serious case of growing pains. 

But these blemishes signal an exciting time at MSP. New stores and restaurants (many with local flavor) will be unveiled one by one over the next 12 months or more. Terminal 2–Humphrey will add four new gates. A luxury hotel and spa is expected to open in 2018, and a 5,000-space on-site parking ramp will open in 2019. 

It’s MSP — reimagined. 

Picture it: Expansive, light-filled walkways; bright, spacious restrooms with gorgeous mosaic artwork; and a plethora of popular Twin Cities shops and restaurants including Holy Land Deli, Red Cow, Republic, Angel Food Bakery and Flirt Boutique.  

Stay up on all the action by visiting reimaginemsp.com

In the meantime, if there’s anything we can do to make your experience at MSP better during this time, please let us know. 

Construction season kicks off changes at Terminal 1


In Minnesota, we call the time between April and October, when the soil warms enough to allow us to dig it up and move it around, construction season. 

That time is upon us at Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP), and we have a lot to accomplish this year, starting with the outbound roadway at Terminal 1-Lindbergh.

The alignment of the outbound roadway will change to accommodate a luxury hotel and spa and a new 5,000-space parking ramp. The hotel is expected to open in 2018 and the ramp in 2019. People driving on the outbound roadway currently might notice a deep excavation to the south in preparation for an underpass that will connect drivers to the new parking exit plaza, one of the improvements the new outbound roadway system will accommodate.

In June, people coming to Terminal 1 will also begin seeing construction barriers and tarps in front of the building as the airport begins transforming the Ticketing and Baggage Claim areas – which still look much as they did when the terminal opened in 1962 – into modern, more efficient spaces. Moving the front walls of the terminal east, closer to the roadway, will provide more space inside for check in and security queues and for larger bag carousels that can accommodate the increased number of bags per flight typical of today’s air travel experience.

What does the construction mean for you? At times, lanes into and out of Terminal 1 may shift or close, and familiar routes to check in counters and baggage carousels will change. Look for signs helping you navigate the changes until construction is complete.

To keep up with the latest information, be sure your e-news subscription includes the MSP Reimagined topic by logging in here. Or visit reimagineMSP.com regularly, where you'll find more details about these and other projects ultimately intended to make your experience here second to none. 

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New air service roundup

It’s official. We are really busy. In 2015 Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) accommodated 4.1 percent – or 1.4 million - more passengers than in 2014. 

An anomaly? Doesn’t look like it. January and February's numbers reflect that trend with a combined 4.33 percent increase over that same period of 2015. If this trend continues, MSP will set a new record for passenger levels in 2016.

Maybe that's why airlines are showing MSP so much love. Airlines added more new service to MSP in the 2nd quarter of 2016 than in any other quarter in history. Just look at all these new routes available at MSP. 

April 5 – American to Washington National Airport

April 12 - Southwest to Baltimore/Washington International

April 14 - Spirit to Atlanta and Philadelphia

April 15 – Frontier to Chicago Midway

April 29 – Spirit to Boston

May 4 – Sun Country to Denver

May 26 – Delta to Iceland

June 2 – American to Los Angeles

June 4 – Delta to Rome

June 9 – Sun Country to Portland

Whether you’re coming or going, you have more choices than ever before. 

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Quick Ride Ramp makes you an airport pro

Quick Ride Ramp Shuttle

It’s hard to beat the parking ramps attached to MSP’s Terminal-1 Lindbergh for convenience, but did you know there is a cheaper option just a stone’s throw away? 

It's the Quick Ride Ramp at Terminal 1

It operates similar to off-site parking, but is more conveniently located on airport property —a five minute shuttle ride from the front of the terminal. And, best of all, you'll save $8 per day versus parking in the terminal’s attached garages.

Simply take the Post Road exit off Highway 5 and drive to the Quick Ride Ramp, 5315 Northwest Dr., St Paul, insert your credit card, park your vehicle, and the complementary shuttle will meet you right at your vehicle. With friendly drivers to assist you with your luggage, you'll be on your way in a jiffy

When you return, simply take the 24-hour shuttle back to the ramp where you will be dropped off right at your vehicle. 

That's what we call being an airport pro!

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art of food

Thomson Reuters Concourse C Art Gallery

ARTS@MSP will open its new exhibit - The Art of Food: A History of Minnesota Food Production, the week of April 25. The exhibit celebrates more than a century of milling, micro-brewing, Fortune 500 companies and organic farming, and shows why Minnesota plays an important role in what you eat. 

The exhibit will be on display through November 15. Travelers can view the show at the Thomson Reuters Concourse C Art Gallery, near Gate C12 in Terminal 1-Lindbergh.

Weekly Music Series

Visitors to Terminal 2-Humphrey can now enjoy live music, courtesy of the ARTS@MSP music program. Thanks to a generous donation, professional musicians and passengers have a vintage baby grand piano to play near Security Checkpoint 1. Patrons willing to share their abilities with others are invited to play. A similar piano is available in baggage claim at Terminal 1, where you can frequently hear people “tickling the ivory” upon arrival at MSP.

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MSP's airport authority appoints new CEO

bryan rkys with wife

The board of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and six general aviation airports in the Twin Cities metropolitan area, voted March 21 to offer the organization’s executive director/CEO position to Brian Ryks. (The photo, at left, is of Brian and his wife Tracy at an open house held March 20.) Ryks will replace long-term CEO Jeff Hamiel, who is retiring in May.

“Brian Ryks is a 30-year veteran of the airport industry and has demonstrated a strong commitment to innovative, inclusive management, industry-leading customer service and responsible environmental stewardship,” said Dan Boivin, chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “Brian is from Minnesota, began his career at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, and brings considerable skills and experience gained leading four other airports in the Upper Midwest. I look forward to welcoming him back to the Metropolitan Airports Commission.”

Ryks was named as one of four finalists for the top job at MAC by a blue ribbon panel in February 2016. Finalists were then interviewed by the MAC board’s Executive Committee earlier this month. The committee deliberated following those interviews and voted to recommend Ryks to the full board.

Learn more about Brian's background and many accomplishments at metroairports.org

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MSP works with congressional delegation and TSA to reduce security screening wait times

mac tsa congressional delegation
TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger (far left) and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar (at podium) join airport officials during a press conference addressing long lines at MSP Airport

Spring break 2016 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) looked an awful lot like spring break 2014, with too many people waiting too long to get checked in and screened. 

It was an issue Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) officials hoped not to see again after working with the TSA and airlines to redesign and consolidate four smaller checkpoints into one larger facility. This larger checkpoint, TSA officials said, would accommodate consolidated screener staffing, explosive detection canine screening teams and provide much more space for passengers to gather personal belongings away from the security line conveyor belts. 

The new 10-lane North Security Checkpoint opened in mid-February, just in time for spring break.

What happened? 

Several local and national factors contributed to the long wait times this spring:

  • TSA staff at MSP declined by more than 60 full-time-equivalent employees over the last three years.
  • Meanwhile, passenger levels at MSP have increased rapidly – by 3.7 percent in 2014, 4 percent in 2015 and another 4.3 percent in the first two months of 2016. 
  • The TSA also has re-emphasized security, resulting in additional time being taken to screen each passenger.
  • And, as airlines began using larger planes and routinely selling 85 percent or more of the available seats (as opposed to an industry average of about 65 percent not many years ago), the crush of people arriving at the airport at peak times has put added pressure on airports across the nation.

Who’s helping?

With wait times growing, MAC officials worked with local TSA and airline personnel to adjust queue lines, improve directional signage and increase the number of workers and volunteers to direct travelers. 

Jeff Hamiel, the MAC’s executive director and CEO, also wrote a letter expressing his concerns to TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger, writing, “Those diverging trend lines – increasing passenger levels and declining numbers of federal screeners – are a recipe for unacceptable customer service.”

At the same time, MAC leaders reached out to Minnesota’s Congressional delegation and to Gov. Dayton to enlist their help working with the TSA to address the issue. 

U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar helped arrange a visit by Administrator Neffenger. During his visit, the administrator pledged to add two additional canine explosives detection teams at MSP, put the airport on the priority list for more screeners and authorize overtime to help get through the busy spring break travel period. (Explosives detection canine teams are helpful because, when they are used, more travelers are able to participate in an expedited screening process, in which they can keep on shoes, belts and light coats and keep laptops and 3-1-1 complaint liquids in their carry-on bags, speeding up the screening process for everyone.)

The added resources helped reduce wait times in the latter half of March, improving the experience for spring break and Easter holiday travelers.

MSP will get very busy again this summer, with June, July and August the busiest months at the airport. 

What can I do to speed my wait time?

If you’re planning to travel, you might consider signing up for the TSA’s Pre-Check program. Participants undergo a background check and in turn qualify for expedited screening. Enrollment centers are available at 5705 W. Old Shakopee Road in Bloomington, 2781 Freeway Blvd. in Brooklyn Center, or if you’re flying, in MSP’s Terminal 1-Lindbergh, near gate C21.

For more advice about how to move through the security screening process most efficiently visit the TSA's website.

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