News from the MAC Chair, July 2022

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page. Bookmark and Share

Header for MAC Chair Newsletter



Many of us have already logged vacations or trips over the last couple of months. Summer travel has roared back— busier terminals, fuller planes— resulting in the strongest peak of air travel yet since the pandemic began. While passenger levels at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are still down about 20% below the high-mark levels set in 2019, we welcome the continued recovery that highlights ongoing pent-up demand in leisure travel and a stronger rebound in business travel domestically, and increasingly, on the international level. While there is still plenty of time left for summer travel close or far away from the Twin Cities, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) already has its eyes on the fall, and for one very big reason.

The MAC is teaming up with Meet Minneapolis to host the ACI-NA Annual Conference and Exhibition here in Minneapolis this September (17-20), which will bring more than 1,700 attendees representing hundreds of North American airports, as well as those from major aviation manufacturers and service providers. This is a proud moment for us to be able to welcome influential aviation leaders to Minnesota to spend several days in downtown Minneapolis to learn and advance our industry, all centered in and around the Minneapolis Convention Center.


We are not only excited for what this will contribute to our regional economy during a time of pandemic recovery, but also the chance to have airport professionals and stakeholders travel to MSP and witness the world-class investments we’re making to modernize the airport that will support the growth in air travel for our region in the decades to come.

MSP’s Terminal 1 is in the final phases of an eight-year, $450 million renovation. It’s the largest expansion since the airport opened in 1962. The modernization touches every level, from more spacious arrival and departure lobbies to better circulation between levels with a central bank of elevators, escalators and stairs. The renovations also include expanded passenger screening checkpoints, new lighting, new and expanded restrooms, better seating, larger baggage carousels, and shiny new Terrazzo flooring —the equivalent of six football fields. All these updates will give us that new airport experience when it’s completed in about two years.  

Additionally, MSP’s new $245 million Silver parking ramp at Terminal 1 accommodates 5,000 new public parking spaces, car rental agencies and a multi-modal transportation center. The airport is still a quick trip away from both downtown Minneapolis and St. Paul. That accessibility was a major factor in being chosen as the host for the ACI-NA Annual Conference this year and continues to be a winning consideration for conferences and events that contribute to our economy and fuel our region’s hospitality sector.  


More investments are coming. MSP is one of 85 airports to receive grant funding in 2022 through the newly established and competitive Airport Terminal Program in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. MSP was awarded $21.3 million for new boarding bridges with better passenger accessibility, the replacement of a critical electrical substation serving the Terminal 1 baggage system and checkpoints, and the initial phase of replacing the iconic folded plate roof at Terminal 1. We are incredibly grateful to the Minnesota congressional delegation for their support in securing this funding that will help provide essential upgrades to benefit passengers and improve operational efficiencies at MSP.

Whether a first-time or frequent traveler to MSP, visitors are often quick to recognize our number one asset is the thousands of employees and volunteers who serve our travelers on a daily basis and have done so admirably through the many hardships of the pandemic. They are also central to MSP’s recent industry award of being named the best airport in North America by ACI, the fifth such award in the last six years.

It’s quite the achievement, and a direct reflection of the overall trajectory and commitment the MAC makes to serve travelers with a spirit to see the world, and those exploring the spirit of our state we call home. 


King signature




Rick King
Metropolitan Airports Commission