MAC Newsletter, September 2020

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

Matt Christenson named Police Chief at MSP Airport


Matt Christenson, a 29-year veteran of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) police force, has been promoted to police chief following an extensive national search and competitive hiring process.

“Chief Christenson has tremendous knowledge of the entire policing operation at MSP, everything from anti-terrorism efforts to patrol, investigations, traffic control, community outreach and records administration,” said Mike Everson, director of public safety for the Metropolitan Airports Commission. “He is a proven leader and has developed strong relationships and trust both within the department and throughout the MSP Airport community.”

Christenson began his law enforcement career at the MSP Airport Police Department (APD) in 1991 as a community service officer. He became a police officer in 1993, was promoted to sergeant in 1999 and lieutenant in 2002. Christenson achieved the rank of commander in 2005 before being appointed deputy chief in 2013. Among his achievements, Christenson led the APD’s investigative division for almost 20 years, launched its explosives-detecting canine program in 2003 and helped develop the Airport Watch community policing program in 2008.


Delta Air Lines to restart Amsterdam service from MSP


Delta Air Lines will resume international service between Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) and Amsterdam (AMS) beginning October 25, 2020. It will be the first transoceanic service to restart from MSP since the COVID-19 pandemic led airlines to suspend such service last spring.

Delta will operate four flights per week (Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday) to Amsterdam on A330-300 aircraft.  From Amsterdam, travelers will have many options to connect to other cities in Europe and beyond. Amsterdam is Delta’s largest European hub.

“Resumption of transoceanic service is a significant milestone in our recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and a tremendous boost for MSP and the Twin Cities region,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP. “While obstacles such as national quarantines and limited demand will likely delay resumption of MSP’s full contingent of pre-COVID transoceanic service, the resumption of Amsterdam service is an important first step, ensuring that people in the region once again have direct access to Europe.”


MSP operations showed some growth as summer progressed


MSP Airport has seen travel demand rebound from the lows of April and May, though it’s still down significantly from 2019 levels.

The Metropolitan Airport Commission’s (MAC) Committee on Operations, Finance and Administration received an update on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on MSP earlier this month.

A recording of the presentation from Chad Leqve, the MAC’s vice president of management and operations, can be heard here and the accompanying visual presentation is found here.

The airport has also implemented a comprehensive program to enhance safety for passengers and employees in response to the pandemic. The Travel Confidently program includes adjustments to cleaning protocols in the terminals, done in conjunction with airlines, concessionaires and other partners.

A reminder: Face masks are required in all public spaces at MSP.

Crystal Airport runway work advances

crystal airport from KJ

It has been a busy summer at Crystal Airport as construction brought significant improvements and changes to the runways, taxiways, and other pavement areas around the airport.

Chief among the improvements was the conversion of one of the two parallel primary runways (Runway 14R/32L) into a full-length, lighted taxiway, which will become the taxiway that services the newly extended Runway 14L/32R – now the single primary runway at Crystal. The new 3750-foot runway is now referred to as Runway 14/32.

Taxiways and runway connectors around the airport were also added, altered, and realigned to enhance safety and accessibility. In addition to this work, new engine run-up pads were installed, and an on-airport perimeter road was added, allowing for vehicles to circulate the airport without having to cross runways.  

On August 25, the new runway 14/32 was paved in just one day, an impressive feat since it was approximately two days’ worth of work. August 29 proved to be an exciting day as the new runway officially opened. Check out this time-lapse video of the paving of Runway 14/32.

“The improvements at Crystal Airport are transformational”, states Joe Harris, MAC director of Reliever Airports. “I would like to recognize the stakeholders, contractors, and staff for their collaborative approach in raising the airport’s profile. The additional runway length and navaids will optimize MAC’s support of airport users. As we continue to strengthen our airport community, I am proud to advocate for Crystal Airport, truly one of the MAC's greatest assets.”

Along with the opening of the runway, the new Self-Service Fuel System, owned and operated by the MAC, opened at the Crystal Airport over Fourth of July weekend.

Construction work has been documented throughout the project, including a video from the work completed on July 29, and through a drone website including 360-degree panoramic photos captured during different phases of construction. A full schedule of activity and monthly updates are posted on the Crystal Airport Construction website.

The Crystal Airport Construction project will continue through October of 2020. Projects in the final phase include conversion of runway 14R/32L to the new Taxiway G, South service road construction, continued airfield electrical improvements, electrical vault construction, and shortening the turf runway to 1,669 feet. 

Plan your trip; upcoming detours for Highway 5 road work

around the airport

Reconstruction work continues on Highway 5, the road that provides access to MSP's Terminal 1 between I-494 and Crosstown Highway 62.

New ramp closures are occurring this week, including the ramp from I-494 west to Highway 5 east, which will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2 to 5 a.m. Monday, Oct. 5.

Currently, Highway 5 west and connecting ramps between Highway 55/62 and I-494 are closed through October.

To get all the latest details on closures and detours related to the work, visit

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