MSP newsletter for October

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New MAC ordinances approved for ground transportation

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A year-long effort to develop and approve new ordinances regulating taxi and shared-ride services at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) came to a close on October 17 when the Metropolitan Airports Commission board voted to approve the documents.

Much of the challenge arose from the need to develop regulations for transportation network companies (TNCs) such as UberX and Lyft, which began serving MSP this spring. The new TNC ordinance is designed to help protect the safety of people using the services and to provide a framework for addressing service issues.


The taxi ordinance, meanwhile, was revised to provide a level playing field on which taxis, using a traditional business model, can compete for customers with mobile app-driven shared-ride service providers. The taxi document went through a number of revisions throughout the process to provide as much equity as possible between the business models while improving customer service.

In both cases, drivers are subject to national criminal as well as driving record background checks and must be permitted or licensed by the Metropolitan Airports Commission to operate from MSP. In addition, all taxicabs must be equipped with electronic credit card processing devices and taxi service companies must provide services consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Transportation network companies initially balked at ordinance requirements for an in-person driver application process, driver identification and vehicle decals. After many hours of meetings between the Commission representatives and the shared-ride service companies, language was adopted that appears to meet the needs of all parties.

At the October board meeting, MAC Commissioner Rick King spoke of the many hours of meetings and discussions that went into creating the final documents.


“I think the reason that we have something that makes everyone a little bit happy and a little bit mad before us today is because of everybody’s willingness to make it work at this airport, which is one of the best in the world,” he said.

King went on to thank officials from Uber, Lyft and the taxi community, which was represented by the Teamsters, as well as MAC staff for their arduous efforts to develop a workable solution. He also thanked the hundreds of people who took the time to provide input during the process.

The MAC held a public hearing on the initial TNC ordinance draft in January 2016 and the taxi ordinance draft in July. A hearing officers’ meeting was held in September to review revisions to the draft ordinances stemming from the public hearing processes and dialogues that had ensued following those meetings.

Both ordinances become effective January 1, 2017, though some requirements in the ordinances will be phased in over the course of 2017.

MSP goes wild over MEA, thanks to the Minnesota Zoo


The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) went wild for the MEA weekend this year, with the help of the Minnesota Zoo and a wide variety of animals that it brought to greet passengers.

As MSP experienced some of its busiest days of the year during the MEA break for school children across Minnesota, passengers were able to enjoy creatures including an owl, red-tailed hawk and a chinchilla, to name a few.

Minnesota Zoo staff kept passengers entertained at tables in both Terminal 1 and Terminal 2 for three days last week. At times, the crowds at the tables were three rows deep, trying to get a better look at animals that included an anteater and a bearded dragon.


On Friday in Terminal 1, passenger Jenny Schneider of Sulfur Springs, Texas was taking photos of Jake, the red-tailed hawk, who was posing with her two young sons. The family was on a 12-hour layover, “so it’s really good to have this to do,” Schneider said.

Other creatures carousing on the concourses included a blue-tongued skink, a painted turtle, millipedes, hissing cockroaches and a hedgehog.

A video of the animals that made appearances during the zoo's visit can be found here.

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Terminal 2-Humphrey's expansion opens

Four new aircraft gates opened October 20 at Terminal 2-Humphrey at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), bringing the total number of gates to 14 and providing space for the increasing flight activity and passenger volume at the terminal.

A crowd of more than 40 people -- plus dozens of passengers catching a Sun Country flight at some of the new gates – attended a grand opening ceremony this morning in Terminal 2.

Click on this image to see a 360-degree view of the new T2-Humphrey gate expansion.

New passenger amenities at Terminal 2 are also part of the project, including a lactation room, a nursing mothers’ room and an indoor pet/service animal relief area.

The newly expanded gate area makes room for existing airlines to expand and for new airlines to enter the Minneapolis-St. Paul market.

“Air service competition helps keep fares low and options plentiful for both business and leisure travelers,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP. “This addition ensures we can accommodate increased competition at MSP.”

Jerry Fuller, senior director at Sun Country Airlines, said the addition to Terminal 2 will help travelers’ trip experiences start off right. “The amenities now at this terminal are world class,” he told the crowd gathered for the grand opening.

New artwork is also included in the Terminal 2 expansion, featuring mosaics in the entry area of the new restrooms and other signature pieces that will be installed by the holiday season, said Robyne Robinson, the arts and culture director at the Airport Foundation MSP.

The new gates H11-H14 are also flanked by a “green” roof that can be viewed through tall glass walls. The roof contains a variety of native plants and helps reduce rainwater runoff and reduces CO2 levels in the air.

Contractors and consulting firms that worked on the project include: Miller Dunwiddie Architects, Michaud Cooley Erickson, Kimley-Horn and Associates, Meyer Borgman Johnson, Faith Group, Kraus-Anderson Construction and Knutson Construction.

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Top 10 spot for MSP from Conde Nast Traveller

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Conde Nast Traveler recently released its 2016 Readers’ Choice Awards, and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) finished in the Top 10 in the “Best Airport” category in the United States.

MSP, which frequently performed well in ratings and surveys, competed with dozens of other big-city airports. The top spot went to Indianapolis International Airport.

The survey attracted votes from more than 300,000 survey takers, who submitted millions of ratings and 75,000 comments.

The full list of the awards can be found here.

The other USA airports in the top 10 that aren’t located on one of the coasts are Dallas Love Field at No. 4, Pittsburgh International Airport at No. 8 and Austin, Texas Airport at No. 9.

Flushing with pride, MSP bathrooms are national finalist

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is one of 10 finalists for the “America’s Best Restroom” award, presented by Cintas. And MSP needs your vote.

The bathroom competition is in its 15th year, which Cintas describes as “a mission to locate America’s porcelain pioneers who are taking dramatic steps to create unforgettable facilities.”

Cintas is one of the nation’s largest restroom service companies.

Earlier this fall MSP International was named to the group of finalists that also includes Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, Pa., The Vine in New York, NY, and the Urban Ecology Center in Milwaukee, Wis. 


MSP is in the midst of a multi-year program to renovate more than 100 sets of restrooms, with amenities that include wall-covering mosaics inside and outside the bathrooms, and waiting areas with flight information and other artwork on display.

You can vote for MSP International and get a look at the competition at this website. But get there fast, before Wednesday, Nov. 2, when voting wraps up.

New for you -- October brings new shopping, dining options

A number of new concession openings in the last month brought new restaurant and retail offerings to MSP International travelers. The list includes:

Republic – A restaurant and bar near the D Concourse with live music provided by students from McNally Smith School of Music in St. Paul.

The grand opening event on Oct. 14 featured a musical performance by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and Dave Pirner, lead singer of Soul Asylum. The event also drew a crowd for its “suitcase party,” which sent two attendees that same night to Nashville for a weekend trip and an Adele concert.

iStore – Located on the main mall in Terminal 1 near the north security checkpoint, the iStore carries select Apple products and related goods that travelers need most.

Sunglass Hut – Get rid of the glare at this new space located on the south end of the main mall at Terminal 1. 

The crowd at Republic's grand opening listens to a performannce by Soul Asylum's Dave Pirner.


L’Etoile – The new store on the baggage claim level of Terminal 2-Humphrey offers everything from healthy grab-and-go food items to electronics, reading material and daily essentials. L’Etoile Market is your one-stop, pre-flight shop.

BluWire – If you need the latest electronic product for your trip, or you forgot your charger, BluWire has you covered. Located on the F Concourse in Terminal 1, BluWire is MSP’s go-to source for top-of-the-line tech.

Subway – The fast and convenient sandwich shop with menu items to satisfy hungry travelers from breakfast to the dinner hour and beyond, located in the main mall at Terminal 1. 

Something new underfoot at Terminal 2-Humphrey

Carpeting is typically one of the final pieces of a construction project, but the new floor covering that’s part of the Terminal 2-Humphrey four-gate expansion was anything but a last-minute consideration.

The evaluation criteria for the new carpet covered eight characteristics, including design aesthetics, sustainability and product testing.

The expanded area of Terminal 2 was unveiled last week, giving the new carpet its first real-world testing.


After proposals came in from carpet manufacturers earlier this year, an evaluation team from the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) went over the written submissions and asked for samples from vendors whose product scored 70 percent or higher.

Three vendors provided samples, which were installed on Terminal 2’s ticketing level for testing. During the six weeks of testing in high-traffic areas, the carpet was intentionally soiled, cleaned and then re-evaluated.

Vendors that remained with a 70 percent or higher score after the second on-site evaluation reached the weighted bid portion of the process.

The weighted bids took into account both the quality of the product and the pricing from the vendor.

When the testing and analysis were complete, the evaluation team unanimously selected Mannington Commercial’s “Seattle Loop” product line as the standard for Terminal 2’s new carpet.

And carpeting an airport expansion is no small job. The initial purchase of 2,000 square yards is equivalent to almost a third of a football field.

Another 8,000 square yards of carpet – which will be the same Mannington Commercial product -- are expected to be acquired in coming years as part of ongoing capital improvement programs at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Car-sharing catches on at MSP


Early indications from car2go, the car-sharing company operating at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), show that the company’s pilot program is popular and expected to grow.

In February, car2go began an 18-month pilot program at MSP, with 10 vehicles available at Terminal 2-Humphrey.

The company is now averaging approximately 100 transactions a week at the airport, Josh Johnson, car2go’s general manager, told the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s Management and Operations Committee at a recent meeting.

Car2go’s business is sustainable at that level and is still growing, he said. Johnson expects 150 transactions per week as the year continues and said that at times, the 10 vehicles at Terminal 2 have all been in use.

Car2go is a car-sharing business with a cell phone app that lets users find, reserve and pay to use a car. The company has 29,000 members in the Twin Cities area.


The cars can be used to travel anywhere, and can be used for one-way trips if the user is leaving the car in car2go’s “Home” area, which includes most parts of Minneapolis and a stretch of St. Paul that runs east along I-94 and into downtown.

The cars can also be returned to the MSP parking spaces at Terminal 2.

Currently, only car2go’s existing members are likely to know about the service at Terminal 2, Johnson said. The service at MSP has also been publicized on social media channels.

The airport’s Landside Operations staff will re-evaluate the program in the spring of 2017 and make recommendations to the Airports Commission board related to car sharing at the airport, said Steve Holes, manager of commercial vehicles.

A survey of car2go users indicated they’d be more likely to use the service at MSP if the cars were available at Terminal 1. If the service through car2go is continued, the airport would explore the possibility of creating car2go parking spots at Terminal 1, Holes said.

Landside operations will also look for ways to improve signage at MSP that alerts users to the car2go vehicles.

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