MAC Newsletter, March 2020

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

MSP Airport remains open, minimizes risks of COVID-19

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Airports, including Minneapolis-St. Paul International (MSP), are considered critical infrastructure and remain open to help support the nation’s air transportation system.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) has taken steps to help keep travelers and airport workers safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier this month, the Metropolitan Airports Commission passed a declaration of a special emergency, providing for a coordinated response to COVID-19 and working with other governmental units to develop plans and access resources.

In recent weeks the MAC and its cleaning contractor ramped up cleaning and disinfecting of touchpoints throughout Terminals 1 and 2, and extra disinfection of public spaces throughout the airport. Additional hand-sanitizers have been placed in many high-traffic spots in the terminals.

The Quick Ride Ramp is temporarily closed, ensuring travelers park in other MSP ramps that don’t require sharing a shuttle ride to and from MSP’s terminals. And hours of operation for Security Checkpoint 10, located adjacent to the skyway connecting concourses C and G, and the public security checkpoint at MSP’s InterContinental Hotel, were extended until 6 p.m., providing remote security screening options for those with only carry-on bags to access Terminal 1.

The MAC has been in regular contact with other airport businesses to share information and coordinate responses to the pandemic and its impact on air travel. That includes the airlines, government officials, community leaders, airport tenants and their employees, and MAC employees.

The number of people passing through the airport’s terminals has declined substantially in recent weeks. From March 19 through March 26, the number of passengers screened at MSP’s security check points were down more than 89 percent from the same period in 2019. Many airport concessions have reduced their hours or closed, but services remain available for passengers at MSP, including a number of restaurants on the secure side of the airport.

Information about changes to services at MSP is available at this link.

Deadline for REAL ID extended due to COVID-19

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Responding to COVID-19 public health concerns, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is extending the deadline for obtaining a REAL ID to Oct. 1, 2021.

That's a year beyond the previously scheduled deadline.

More information about the extension can be found at this link.

Also, Minnesota's Department of Public Safety has suspended operations at driver's license exam and renewal stations until April 10, including the kiosk that was opened at MSP Airport to process REAL ID applications. Information about the suspension of services is available here.

Reliever Airports continue to provide essential services

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While the number of flights taking off and landing at the MAC’s six reliever airports has declined during the COVID-19 pandemic, essential flights - including those supporting important medical services - still occur daily at the airports.

“Operators continue to offer charter services, including transporting healthcare workers and managers who are traveling related to the pandemic,” said Joe Harris, director of the MAC’s Reliever Airports.

Due to the impacts of COVID-19, overall personal and leisure flying has declined.

Still, the four reliever airports with control towers combined have experienced as many as 1,100 landings and take-offs per day during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Medivac flights - which provide emergency transportation for a wide range of medical issues - continue at the airports, as do flights for Lifesource at Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie.

“General aviation airports provide essential services for the region and are key assets year-round, including during times of crisis,” Harris said.

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

MAC board delays vote on $15-an-hour minimum wage

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Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) Chair Rick King recently announced that a planned MAC board vote on a new minimum wage ordinance at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) will be delayed due to the economic and financial uncertainties arising from COVID-19.

Originally scheduled for April 2020, the MAC board vote on a draft ordinance that would phase in a $15 minimum wage for many workers at MSP by July 1, 2022 will now occur at a later date.

“We are not abandoning efforts to ensure employees at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are paid competitive wages that attract a quality workforce,” King said. “The issue is timing. Right now, airport businesses are struggling due to the rapid decline in air travel demand in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we fully support the $15 minimum wage, we need to be careful about increasing costs to businesses at a time when revenues throughout the aviation industry are far below what anyone could have forecasted and might remain so for some time.”


Roadwork near MSP Airport begins in April; plan ahead for delays

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Starting in April, motorists headed to Terminal 1 at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are likely to experience delays due to roadwork on the stretch of Hwy. 5 between I-494 and Hwy. 62. The terminal's roadways intersect with this section of the highway.  . 

The Minnesota Department of Transportation is advising anyone traveling to MSP to add an hour to their commute, once construction begins. 

Motorists who use that stretch of Hwy. 5 for their daily commute may want to choose alternate routes during construction. 

Everything you need to know about the project, which is expected to run April to October, is available at

MSP named best airport, fourth year running

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For the fourth year in a row, MSP was named the best airport in N. America in the 25-40 million passenger category.

The recognition from Airports Council International (ACI) is based on customer surveys that gather data on 34 key performance indicators.

“It is gratifying that year after year, travelers rate Minneapolis-St. Paul International higher than any other airport of its size in North America and among the very best in the world,” said Metropolitan Airports Commission CEO Brian Ryks.

“I credit MSP’s continued strong performance not only to the very talented workforce at the Metropolitan Airports Commission, but also to the effective partnerships the Commission has built with airlines, concessionaires, federal agencies, the Airport Foundation MSP and many other organizations operating MSP.”


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