MAC Newsletter, April 2019

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page. Bookmark and Share

Welcome to the Metropolitan Airports Commission's e-newsletter.

MSP plows through another epic winter; wins national award

Earlier this week, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSPreceived the industry’s highest and most prestigious award for “excellence in the performance of airport snow and ice removal” - the Balchen/Post Award 

The award is for the 2018-2019 winter season and was presented at the American Association of Airport Executives’ annual International Aviation Snow Symposium in Buffalo, New York. 

MSP earned the honor in the large commercial airport category – those with more than 200,000 takeoffs and landings annually. 

On hand to receive the award were several people from the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s (MAC) Operations and Field Maintenance crew.  

“We have a great team and they really stepped up to the challenge this past winter,” said Sara Freese, assistant director of Operations and Field Maintenance. “We’re thrilled to receive this honor.”  

blower with png

Click on the image for a video of MSP's award-winning team in action.

Total snowfall at MSP Airport for the season was 77.1 inches – more than 40 percent above the seasonal average of 54.4 inches. In February alone, the airport received 38.9 inches – the fourth snowiest month on record at MSP. 

The team put in countless hours - many times staying overnight -- enabling crews to work around the clock in shifts   

Keeping the airport operational during extreme weather events contributes to MSP’s overall on-time record. MSP had the best on-time record among major airports globally in 2017, and ranked third in 2018, according to the OAG Punctuality League, which tracks on-time performance of the world’s airports and airlines. 

The criteria for winning the award is based on an airport’s:

  • Degree of in-depth preparedness
  • Effectiveness of snow and ice control program
  • Timeliness and accuracy of communications during the snow and ice control efforts
  • Post-storm activity (clean-up and critique)

The last time MSP won the Balchen/Post award outright was in 2001 for the 2000-2001 season. MSP also received honorable mention for the 2017-2018, 2016-2017, and 2001-2002 seasons.

The Balchen/Post Award is named for Col. Bernt Balchen, a legendary pilot who was the first to fly over both the north and south poles and the chief pilot for Rear Admiral Richard Byrd’s historic Antarctic expedition, and Wiley Post, a founder and long-time general chairman of the snow symposium.  

DHL opens new facility on MSP's Cargo Road

A new DHL cargo facility that recently opened along Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s Cargo Road is shaving hours of work off DHL’s operations each day.

DHL employees gathered for a ribbon cutting on April 17 (pictured) outside the building at 1940 Cargo Road. It replaces a facility that DHL used to occupy on the far south end of the airfield, near I-494.

That location required DHL – a leading international express mail service -- to unload parcels and boxes from planes, load them on trucks and then transport them to the sorting facility, where parcels were processed and sent out for distribution.


“Eliminating transportation of the parcels by truck to and from the former building will knock about two hours off of our processing time each day,” said Scott Turley, the facility’s station manager.

dhl image 3

The new facility allows planes to unload containers directly outside the building, move them inside on rollers and quickly place parcels onto sorting lines for immediate loading into delivery trucks.

The Cargo Road project included the renovation of an existing, smaller building and construction of new space, creating a 30,433-square-foot facility.

Pictured: The new DHL facility's sorting line.

DHL’s new building, which employs 120 people, serves customers in Minnesota, the Dakotas and parts of Wisconsin and Iowa.

MSP Fire Station No. 1 is a hot destination for visiting groups

fire dept. birthday

Since his mom, grandmother and grandfather are all pilots for Delta Air Lines, it was only fitting that five-year-old Lucas Swenson wanted to celebrate his birthday somewhere cool – like MSP Airport – where his family works. 

But that had nothing to do with why he chose MSP's Fire Station No. 1 as the location to celebrate his fifth birthday on April 9. He just loves fire trucks and fire stations – particularly this one. 

"We go to a lot of fire stations, but this is his all-time favorite," explained his mom, Jennifer Swenson of Minnetonka. 

The Metropolitan Airports Commission's (MAC) firefighters were more than happy to oblige. And it didn't hurt that Lucas and his mom brought donuts to share. 

Pictured: MAC firefighter Jamel Anderson explains the difference between a "crash truck" and an ordinary fire truck to visitors.

Firefighters Jamel Anderson and Ryan Huisheere gave Lucas and his two pals, Cam and Teddy, a detailed tour of the station that included stops to see where firefighters eat, sleep, and keep watch over MSP's runways from the "captain's deck." 

Lucas' infatuation with the fire station began about six months ago when he first toured the station. 

"That's all he's been talking about ever since – how he wanted to celebrate his birthday here with his friends," said Jennifer Swenson. 

Public tours for groups 

The MSP Airport Fire Department conducts about 40 tours per year – typically to aviation or school groups, explained Greg Fuller, assistant fire chief and training officer. But exceptions are sometimes made for smaller requests – such as this one – for people within the MSP community. 

"People are just interested in fire stations and we get a chance to talk a little about fire safety," said Fuller. "There's also a recruitment element. Firefighters are proud of what they do and remember their first visit to a fire station. That's how a lot of us got into the profession."  

Of course, no fire station visit is complete without sitting in a fire truck – technically a "crash truck," which is equipped with what looks like a giant bee stinger on a retractable pole that can pierce the skin of an airplane and flush it with water to douse a fire. 

"I get to sit up here (in the driver's seat) because I'm the birthday boy," said Lucas.   

MSP Airport job fair coming to downtown Minneapolis

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is holding its next job fair May 6 at the Hennepin County Library -- Minneapolis Central.

Approximately 25 companies – including the Metropolitan Airports Commission -- that operate at MSP will participate in the job fair. A wide range of jobs are available at MSP, including in the food and beverage, retail, hotel, maintenance, airline and aviation fields. Most jobs have highly competitive wages and offer extensive benefits.

The event is being held at the library rather than the airport because of its centralized location and access to public transportation. The Central Library staff also has a team of employees and volunteers who assist patrons with job searches.

job fair graphic

“Our second floor is one of the busiest public service points in our bustling, urban library,” said Martha Hardy, a librarian in the Business, Science and Government Documents section of the library. “Community organizations offer one-on-one consultations twice per week and accept appointments for individualized help. And library staff offer individualized job search help on Thursday afternoons in the computer lab.”

Those consultations cover everything from help drafting resumes and cover letters to basic computer training. In addition, job seekers can take the “Northstar Digital Literacy Assessment” test that measures their proficiency in computer programs such as Microsoft Office (which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint).

Details on some of the current job openings at the airport can be found here.

Flying Cloud Airport rezoning approved

fcm for april

On April 10, the Flying Cloud Airport (FCM) Joint Airport Zoning Board adopted an airport zoning ordinance for FCM that achieves a balance between providing for a reasonable level of safety while allowing for compatible community development.   

It allows more opportunities for non-aeronautical (activity not associated with aviation) economic development in the vicinity of FCM than what is currently permitted under the state’s airport zoning law. (In the absence of local zoning ordinances, state law is considered.) 

While provisions of the ordinance must still be adopted and implemented by the adjacent communities – Eden Prairie, Shakopee and Chanhassen – the action by the Joint Airport Zoning Board represents a decade-long effort to reach an agreement with all parties on the board and the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT).  

The board consists of members from the adjacent communities and the MAC, and MnDOT had to approve the ordinanceAdoption by the communities is expected. 

“Approval of this ordinance is significant because it’s been worked on for 10 years with some fits and starts,” said Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the MAC, who recognized the efforts of MAC staff, MnDOT and the city of Eden Prairie during a commission meeting April 15. “This was a really big accomplishment.” 

“The MnDOT folks came to the table and helped us to understand what was most important to them, and that created a pathway forward to the finish line,” said Neil Ralston, airport planner and MAC technical advisor to the Joint Airport Zoning Board. “This was truly a team effort all around, with incredible support from the MAC commissioners on the board (Rick King and Katie Clark Sieben), several MAC departments, including Relievers, Legal, and Environment, the municipal representatives on the board, and outstanding leadership from Chair Brad Aho,” said Ralston.    

The runway extension 

The impetus for the new ordinance  which takes effect May 1  began in 2009 with the completion of a runway extension to 5,000 feet at Flying Cloud. As part of its approval of that projectMnDOT requested the airport adopt additional zoning requirements. 

That proved more difficult than it sounds because the area had grown substantially since 1941 when the U.S. Navy first used the land to conduct training flights on a grass strip in a farmer’s field. Many businesses and homes have sprung up over the past nearly 80 years and neighbors concerned about noise have lodged numerous complaints.   

The new airport zoning ordinance reaches a compromise that permits compatible community development while at the same time promoting airport and community safety. The ordinance is made up of two primary components: airspace (height) restrictions and land use controls in the form of safety zones. 

Additional information about the FCM airport zoning ordinance process -- and the final zoning ordinance itself -- can be found at this page on the MAC website.   

Quick Links

Board Meetings
Business Opportunities
Career Opportunities
General Aviation Airport Information

InterContinental Hotel
MSP Aircraft Noise Information
MSP Airport