MAC Newsletter, July 2019

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General Aviation airports draw big weekend crowds


MAC field maintenance equipment on display and open for exploration at the AirExpo at Flying Cloud Airport.

Three of the MAC’s six smaller, general aviation airports hosted big crowds the weekend of July 13-14, as air shows and historic aircraft attracted aviation buffs and military veterans.

Thousands of people attended the AirExpo at Flying Cloud Airport (FCM), where about 40 iconic aircraft were on display. Visitors were able to book a ride in a B-17 Flying Fortress and watch the Red Bull skydivers and wingsuit daredevils fly out of the clouds and onto the airfield.

The event, put on by Wings of the North, also featured food and beverage concessions, a pancake breakfast and plenty of aerial entertainment.

“There aren’t many places you can get this close to planes and skydivers,” said Bill Hamilton, a St. Paul resident attending AirExpo on Sunday with his two young children. “My kids were excited to come to the airport and they haven’t been disappointed.”

That same weekend at St. Paul Downtown Airport (STP), a rare B-29 Superfortress bomber – one of the largest planes in the world credited with helping end World War II – was on display and available for rides.

Also on display in St. Paul were aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force Minnesota Wing, including a B-25 bomber of the same era.


Among the hundreds of people who came to the event to see the B-29 Superfortress was 90-year-old Herb Cook of St. Paul.

“I saw them fly when I was in the service during the Korean War,” said Cook. “But I’ve only seen them in the sky – never on the ground.”

The volunteer group that operates the aircraft timed their visit to coincide with AirExpo, but landed at St. Paul to take advantage of the 6,491-foot runway. The B-29’s aerial route brought it over FCM’s airfield twice each day of the weekend for fly-overs.

On Sunday the 14th, Airlake Airport in Lakeville held a fly-in breakfast hosted by the Lakeville Lions Club, part of the City of Lakeville’s Panorama of Progress Summer Festival.

The airport event has grown substantially in recent years, and 1,800 people were served breakfast this year. The B-25 bomber was also part of the program, offering rides on Sunday morning.

Gov. Walz appoints new commissioners; names King chair

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz recently appointed two new members of the Metropolitan Airports Commission and named Rick King – a long-time MAC commissioner – as the board’s new chair.

Yodit Bizen of Apple Valley is the new commissioner for District H.

Ms. Bizen has been a member of the workforce at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport since 2001. She previously worked in occupational therapy for Lake Ridge Healthcare Center and the Wilder Adult Health Care Center. She has also served as a personal care provider with Augustana Health Center, Activity Aide, and JCC. She is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and the Minnesota Occupational Therapy Association.

Rodney Skoog of White Bear Lake is the new commissioner for District F.

Mr. Skoog has been the Executive Administrator for the Minnesota Laborers Fringe Benefit Funds since 1991. The Funds are multiemployer employee benefit plans covering more than 28,000 participants throughout the state of Minnesota and North Dakota, providing essential healthcare coverage, retirement security and training benefits. He is also a delegate to the Laborers District Council of Minnesota and North Dakota. 

King replaces Dan Boivin, who served on the board between 2002 and 2019 as both a commissioner and chair.

The governor also reappointed board members Carl Crimmins, the District A representative from Champlin, and Dixie Hoard of Thief River Falls, one of the four out-state representatives on the board.

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Wanted: Your input on MSP Airport's future

As the Metropolitan Airports Commission continues to plan for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport's (MSP) future in 2040 and beyond, we’re asking for your input.

Your responses to a five-minute survey will help our planners know what’s important to MSP’s customers.

Please visit this link to take the survey.

For more information about the long-term planning process for MSP Airport, visit this web page.

Registration is open for Girls in Aviation Day

girl in plane

Registration is now open for the “Girls in Aviation Day” on Saturday, Sept. 21 at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie.

The event, founded by Women in Aviation, is an effort to increase female participation and enthusiasm for careers in science, technology, engineering, math (STEM) and aviation. ​The members of the Minnesota chapter have a passion for aviation and include professional pilots, air traffic controllers, mechanics and aviation enthusiasts.

The local group created the free aviation-related event for girls to get a glimpse into exciting aviation career opportunities. The chapter hopes to inspire the next group of young aviators and scientists to pursue opportunities in aviation and STEM-related fields.

More information about the program and registration details is available here.

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MSP Airport wins efficiency award for third year in a row

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) was recently named the most efficient North American airport in its class for the third year in a row.

On July 3 in Amsterdam, the Air Transport Research Society (ATRS) presented MSP with its Award of Excellence, which recognizes efficiency in productivity and operations, unit-cost competitiveness and comparisons of airport charges.

Operating efficiently is a key metric that airlines use in deciding to serve an airport and is one reason MSP has been able to continue as a strong Delta Air Lines hub and attract new carriers such as Aer Lingus, JetBlue and Spirit Airlines.

“The ATRS award is another sign of MSP’s unrelenting focus on efficient operations,” said Brian Ryks, the executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP. “The fact that we’ve been recognized by ATRS for efficiency, while also winning the customer-focused ACI award three years running, is a testament to the excellent customer service provided daily by thousands of airport employees.”

Earlier this year, MSP was named the best airport in North America for its size for the third year in a row by Airports Council International (ACI).

With this year’s ATRS award, MSP was the top North American airport for efficiency excellence in 2019 in the 25 million-to-40 million passenger-per-year category.

The methodology for the ATRS award takes into account labor and other non-capital costs, and includes factors such as aircraft movements, passenger numbers and other revenue sources.

The ATRS is an industry group that was formed in 1995 as part of the World Conference on Transport Research Society. The latest report includes 204 airports and 24 airport groups of various sizes and ownership forms in Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. 

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Fun with a purpose -- Special Olympics Plane Pull teams wanted

plane pull

The 2019 Special Olympics Plane Pull at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is just around the corner, and it’s not too early to start putting together a team for a good cause.

No matter what your line of work, you’re welcome to form a team of up to eight people and compete to see who can pull a Delta Air Lines jet 25 feet in the shortest amount of time. 

Winners of the event on Saturday, Sept. 7, will walk away with bragging rights for the entire year.

To participate, each team must raise at least $1,000 in pledges and all participants will receive a 2019 Plane Pull shirt.

Through the registration process, you’ll be able to create your own Plane Pull web page, which enables your team to collect pledges online. All funds raised by the event will directly benefit Special Olympics Minnesota.

Interested in volunteering but not plane pulling? There are many volunteer opportunities at the event, including timers, cheerleaders, recorders and registration assistants.

The event will take place at 7109 Longfellow Ave., Minneapolis, on the west side of MSP’s airfield. The Plane Pull check-in area opens at 8 a.m. The competition starts at 9 a.m. and runs until the mid-afternoon.

It’s a family friendly event that’s open to the public. Entertainment will be provided throughout the day.

For more information, please visit the Special Olympics Plane pull page, or contact Airport Police Department K9 Handler Eric Hoaglan at or Lieutenant Jason Erickson at

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FAA awards grants to MSP and Lake Elmo Airports

lake elmo

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Lake Elmo Airport were among U.S. airports awarded infrastructure grants recently by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The FAA announced a total of $477 million worth of the infrastructure grants, including $22.2 million total for airports in Minnesota.

For the Metropolitan Airports Commissions’ facilities, that includes:

  • $2.15 million for Lake Elmo Airport (pictured) to rebuild a runway and a taxiway.
  • $9.7 million for MSP to build a taxiway, improve a runway safety area and install lighting and runway markings.

The grants are part of the FAA’s multi-year Airport Improvement Program, which provides certain amounts of funding each year based on airport activity levels and project needs.

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