MAC Newsletter, June 2019

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

MAC and MSP shine spotlight on exotic arts from New Guinea

It may seem odd to see a collection of exotic wood carvings and stunning textile art from the Papua province of Indonesia on display at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), which is nearly 10,000 miles away from this island nation just south of the equator.

But not when you consider that it was a Minnesotan (Catholic Bishop Alphonse Sowada from Avon, Minn.) who not only played a key role in bringing this treasured art to Minnesota, but also led the effort to preserve an art form that serves to communicate between the living and dead in traditional Asmat culture.

asmat mirror image

Were it not for an alignment of interests between the University of St. Thomas and the Arts@MSP program at MSP Airport, the artworks may have remained in relative obscurity on the St. Thomas campus in St. Paul, Minn.

“St. Thomas’ goal is to share the work. And our goal is to share the work to encourage people to explore more about Minnesota culture and the art resources that are here,” said Ben Owen, director of Arts and Culture at the Airport Foundation MSP. “It’s the first time that I’m aware of that MSP has had a direct connection with a museum to display its art. And this is the widest visibility this collection has ever received.”

In the exhibit – Voyages Through Asmat Art - are Asmat ancestor poles and a ceremonial canoe, which had to come through the front doors of Terminal 1 because it was too large to fit through the loading docks. Also on display are 50 more items, including a crocodile sculpture, drums, bags and a ceremonial mat. They represent just a fraction of the 3,000 objects in St. Thomas’ American Museum of Asmat Art.

“The thing I love about this exhibit is that it’s completely unexpected,” said Victoria Young, chair of the Art History Department at St. Thomas and a professor of modern architectural history.

Owen agreed.

“As a public arts program, we have an obligation to share work at unconventional locations,” he said. “That’s really what public art is all about – something that’s a surprise – something’s that’s delightful.”

asmat passenger

Sharing the collection

Young said it was her boss, the dean of St. Thomas’ College of Arts and Sciences (Yohuru Williams), who suggested the Asmat collection should be shared with a broader audience – at an airport or football stadium.

Fortuitously, Owen had just sent a request for proposals to about 20,000 people in the arts community, including Young, to see who was interested in displaying their art at one of the 16 spaces reserved for art at MSP.

“I said, ‘OK, let’s give this a go,’” said Young, a former flight attendant who was familiar with airport foot traffic. “We get about 3,000 visitors a year to the American Museum of Asmat Art at St. Thomas.  At MSP, there could be 3,000 people out there in a day.” (Actually, 104,000 people pass through the airport each day, on average.)

Owen says he hopes the success of the collaboration with St. Thomas will lead to similar high-profile exhibits.

The Voyages Through Asmat Art exhibit is on display in the Thomson Reuter’s Concourse C Art Gallery through November 2019.

Arts@MSP is the arts and culture program at MSP Airport and is a partnership between the Metropolitan Airports Commission and the Airport Foundation MSP.

Ryks elected to national airport executives board

brian ryks

Brian Ryks, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), has been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).

The AAAE is the world’s largest professional organization representing the women and men who work at public-use commercial and general aviation airports.

“I’m honored to be in a position to offer guidance to the AAAE as the airport industry continues to grow and works to meet the needs of all airport stakeholders,” Ryks said.

In 2016 Ryks was selected to lead the MAC, which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and six general aviation reliever airports in the Twin Cities metro area.

Ryks holds a professional affiliation with the Great Lakes Chapter of AAAE (GL-AAAE) and is Past President of GL-AAAE. Ryks also serves on the Airports Council International – North America (ACI-NA) Board of Directors and represents ACI-NA on its World Governing Board.

Joe Harris chosen to lead MAC's reliever airports


Joe Harris, a long-time employee of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), was recently selected as the new director of Reliever Airports for the MAC.

Harris was most recently the manager of the MAC’s largest and smallest reliever airports – St. Paul Downtown and Lake Elmo.

With his selection to lead the MAC’s six-airport reliever system, Harris succeeds Gary Schmidt, who is retiring after a 35-year career at the MAC.

Harris joined the MAC in 2000 after working nearly two years as the airport noise program manager for the Rhode Island Airport Corporation and earning a bachelor of science degree in aeronautical studies from the University of North Dakota. 

Harris also has a master’s degree in management from St. Mary’s University in Minnesota. 

The MAC Reliever Airports system is designed to relieve congestion at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The six airports are home to more than half of all registered aircraft in Minnesota. 

In addition to St. Paul Downtown and Lake Elmo airports, the reliever airports include Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie; Crystal Airport in Crystal; Airlake Airport in Lakeville, and Anoka County-Blaine Airport in Blaine.

“I will do my absolute best to carry on the tradition of operating a world-class relievers system,” says Harris, who is also a certified commercial pilot and flight instructor. “I can’t thank the MAC enough for investing in me over the years, and I’m looking forward to the new role and responsibilities.”   

Harris’ appointment is effective July 1, 2019.

Where's the best airfield view? At the MAC's seven airports

Warmer weather showed up a little late this year. But now that summer is here, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) encourages you to enjoy the aircraft viewing areas at all seven of its airports.

The viewing areas at its six general aviation airports all include a shelter and some tables. So pack a picnic, bring some binoculars and enjoy the planes - large and small.

The MAC’s General Aviation Airports

Airlake Airport in Lakeville has an aircraft viewing area on the north edge of the airport, next to the MAC’s maintenance building, at 8140 220th Avenue. Aviation enthusiasts from the industrial park next door often wander over on their lunch hour.

The viewing area at the Anoka County-Blaine Airport is located at the base of the airport’s air traffic control tower. Visitors can park right next to the viewing area.

At Crystal Airport, park near the air traffic control tower and then walk over the viewing area on the east side. There is a gate to keep wildlife out, but you can push the button to release the gate.

fcm viewing area

Flying Cloud Airport's aircraft viewing area.

Flying Cloud Airport’s viewing area is on the northwest side of the airfield, by Flying Cloud Fields. The viewing area is next to the soccer fields.

The viewing area for Lake Elmo Airport is located at 3225 Manning Avenue, next to the MAC’s administration and maintenance building. You’ll find parking and signs to guide you.

The St. Paul Downtown Airport has a viewing area on the airfield side of the historic terminal building, located at 644 Bayfield Street. Park across the street and then step inside the terminal where you can ask the person at the front desk for directions.

There’s also a popular aircraft viewing area at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport on the west side of the airfield.

As you drive along Longfellow Avenue on the west side, turn onto Cargo Road. Drive through a couple of tunnels and proceed to the end of the road. You’ll find a wide view of the airfield and probably an aviation geek or two to help you identify the aircraft types.

Delta's newest aircraft, the A220, now in service at MSP

Delta Air Lines’ newest aircraft – the Airbus A220 – started service at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport this week on a flight serving Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Some serious fanfare accompanies the aircraft, as its design includes engines that are quieter and more fuel-efficient, while also offering greater passenger comforts compared to other commercial jets.

a220 Mpls background

The A220 as it landed at MSP earlier this week.

A noise analysis of the aircraft was required for certification. The results show the A220 is quieter, during the approach and departure phases, than the CRJ-200, an aircraft that is half the size and carries fewer than half the passengers.

The A220’s fuel burn contributes 20 percent fewer carbon dioxide and 50 percent fewer nitrogen oxide emissions, according to Airbus.

a220 bathroom window

The A220’s state-of-the-art interior includes extra-large windows, full-spectrum LED ambient lighting and high-capacity overhead bins.

There’s also an eye-catching window in the bathroom (pictured). The cabin provides 109 seats total, including 12 in first class, 15 in Delta Comfort and 82 in the main cabin.

The addition of the A220 is the latest investment by Delta in an ongoing fleet modernization program that aims to replace 20 percent of older, less-efficient aircraft.

Delta plans to add a total of 90 A220s by 2023.

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