MSP Long Term Plan - Fall 2019 Newsletter

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In This Edition

MSP Airport Long-Term Planning Work Begins

MAC logo

In 2019, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) began working on a Long-Term Plan for Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). The plan will look ahead to the year 2040 to assess when MSP airport facility improvements might be needed. The Plan will also determine how improvements can be made safely, efficiently, orderly and cost-effectively, and in a way that continues to provide a high level of service to customers and considers input from a wide range of stakeholders.

While the plan will proactively identify facility and infrastructure needs, it will not authorize actual construction or improvements. The MAC will begin projects only when passenger and operations levels rise to a level that makes it confident of the need.

Plan Goals

At the outset of the plan, three goals were identified. These goals clarify the plan’s intent so that, across the MAC's constituencies, it is well understood what the organization is working to achieve.

  • Plan for future facilities that will meet projected passenger activity levels in a manner that maintains and enhances customer service, while facilitating a seamless, "one-journey" experience.
  • Produce a development plan that positions the MAC to meet future demand levels, enhances financial strength, leverages environmental stewardship, and infuses sustainable thinking.
  • Conduct the planning process in a manner that includes meaningful stakeholder engagement processes.

Plan Process

planning process graphic

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Planning Timeline

The planning process is expected to take approximately 24 months, ending in the fourth quarter of 2020. The MAC is currently in the process of gathering information about MSP’s current conditions, including information about the airport’s terminals and other campus buildings, as well as its roadways and other non-airfield areas. Forecasts for the number of passengers and aircraft operations are also being developed. The project timeline is provided in the graphic below.

Long Term Planning Timeline

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Anticipated Passenger and Operations Numbers

As the population and economies of the metropolitan area and region grow, it is important to understand how these trends affect future demand for commercial air travel at MSP and plan for it.

Based on socioeconomic predictions through 2040, the MAC has forecasted how many passengers will use the airport and how many aircraft operations (landings and takeoffs), will be necessary to accommodate them. These forecasts will serve as the backbone for assessing facility needs and will help identify necessary improvement projects. It’s important to note that the airport itself does not generate demand. Instead, the growth expected is the natural result of economic and population growth.

Long-range aviation activity is difficult to predict. To best reflect the future, the forecasts will include a range of scenarios that include baseline, low-level, and high-level activity scenarios for both number of passengers and number of operations. The project team has developed the activity forecasts using 2018 as the base year, going out to the year 2040. The airlines at MSP concur with these forecasts, as well.

Given what we know about future forecasted conditions, the number of enplaned passengers - people on a flight departing the airport - is expected to grow at an average annual growth rate of about 1.8 percent, which results in just over 27 million passengers in the year 2040.

To meet this level of passenger activity, operations levels are expected to grow at an average of 1.2 percent per year. This is less than the 1.8 percent expected growth in passenger enplanements because airlines are expected to carry passengers with larger aircraft and with more seats filled in the future. This projection would result in approximately 526,000 aircraft operations in the year 2040. 

passenger forecast

Passenger numbers forecast for MSP Airport for the year 2040

flight operations forecast

Flight operations forecast for MSP Airport for the year 2040 

Forecasts will be used to assess the impact the increased passenger and flight traffic will have on the facilities and then to identify opportunities for improvement. The next step is conducting a gap analysis for the airport’s facilities, which will lead to the creation of alternatives for evaluation.

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Robust Stakeholder Engagement Plan in Place

stakeholder engagement panel members

As an international airport, MSP plays a significant role in the community. It connects businesses and individuals to the larger world. In order for the Long-Term Plan to reflect stakeholder needs, thorough and meaningful involvement is essential.

“So many stakeholders have an interest in the airport and its long-range planning. It’s really important to us to have a robust engagement program to make sure we’re communicating well and understanding different views,” says Dana Nelson, MAC’s director of stakeholder engagement.

To accomplish this, the MAC has created a Stakeholder Engagement Program that includes soliciting feedback through surveys, holding Experience MSP events and convening a Stakeholder Advisory Panel.

The Stakeholder Advisory Panel serves in an advisory role, representing key stakeholder groups to ensure that the project team hears and considers stakeholder concerns and aspirations related to the process. Specifically, the panel serves several functions, including representing a broad range of stakeholder groups, receiving information about the planning process, and communicating public concerns and aspirations as the voice of key stakeholders. To-date the Panel has met twice and will continue to meet throughout the planning process.

It is important to note that the Panel serves only in an advisory capacity. While the Panel may offer opinions, advice, and guidance, the MAC is solely responsible for all planning decisions. This means that the MAC project team will listen to input from the Panel and others throughout the process and consider how to use the input to best advance the goals of the plan. Important factors to consider include maintaining a high level of service, achieving the established goals of the plan, conforming to design standards, airport safety and security, operational feasibility, federal and state policies and project costs. The team will listen to concerns and input and, when possible, make changes to the plan.

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You Are Invited!

experience MSP logo

Please join us for the first EXPERIENCE MSP event! In addition to an introduction to the long-term planning process, you’ll have opportunities to learn about MSP’s history, experience a “Taste of MSP’ featuring airport restaurants, and join in on kids’ aviation-themed activities. A formal presentation about the planning process will be offered at 5:30 p.m.

October 2, 2019
4-8 p.m. 
Mall of America Executive Center
410 Broadway
Bloomington, MN 55425

To get to Mall of America Executive Center, follow these directions:

  • Enter EAST PARKING RAMP, accessible from 24th Avenue South.
  • Park on the 5th level, P5 New York.
  • Go up the ½ flight of stairs, walk through the skyway and enter into the mall. Proceed straight, toward the elevators, then turn right down the hall.
  • At the end of the hall you see well-lit wooden doors for the Mall of America Executive Center.
  • There will be people along the way to help, as well.

This is the first of four public events that will be held to share news about the plan and gather input. Each event will offer new exhibits covering a wide range of aviation topics.

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We Want to Hear from You

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If you are unable to attend the EXPERIENCE MSP event, please visit our Polco survey site at to provide your input.

We appreciate your insight!

Stay Involved

The best way to keep current on what’s happening with the planning process is to sign up to receive updates via our e-newsletter. Regular updates will be sent through this email list, including notices about public events.

You can also find project documents (reports, newsletters, presentations, fact sheets, etc.), answers to frequently asked questions, and information on how to provide public comment on our project website:

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