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MSP Airport 2040 Long-Term Plan Approved by MAC Board

The MSP Airport 2040 plan outlines improvements to MSP terminals, parking facilities, and the airfield to accommodate growth

By Todd R. Berger

Delta Air Lines jet at a gate at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport after a storm; the airport’s governing board approved a long-range plan for airport improvement and expansion. || Photo by Tony Webster

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) board, which owns and operates Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), has approved the long-term plan for the airport. The MSP Airport 2040 Long-Term Plan outlines potential projects to improve the terminals, parking facilities, and the airfield to accommodate passenger growth and other changes in aviation activity over the next two decades.

MSP is the 19th busiest airport in North America by passenger traffic based on the latest annual data by Airports Council International. The MSP Airport 2040 Long-Term Plan is based on a forecast that the airport will serve approximately 56 million passengers by 2040, compared to the current all-time record of 39.5 million passengers set in 2019. MSP’s runway system has sufficient capacity to meet that demand based on the operations forecast. Total aircraft operations are expected to increase to 510,000 by 2040, compared to last year’s total operations of 323,929, and well below the high mark of 540,727 annual operations in 2004.

“Our focus through this multiyear process has been to make sure we’re prepared to meet growing demand in air service, cargo, and other flight operations while maintaining our commitment to the highest standards in service to our travelers and stakeholders—[all] while minimizing environmental impacts,” says Brian Ryks, CEO of the MAC, in a prepared statement. “MSP has the ability to accommodate the projected growth without new runways, but we have identified the need to expand terminals, gates, and other areas to improve operations for our airlines and to make the passenger journey easier throughout the airport.”

Highlights of the MSP Airport 2040 Long-Term Plan include new gates that are part of a near-term need to expand Terminal 2 to the south and a long-term project to extend Concourse G in Terminal 1. There are mid- and long-term projects to reconstruct concourses E and F, and to create a passenger connector between Terminals 1 and 2. Other proposed projects focus on improving parking and reducing roadway congestion in front of the terminals. Recommended airfield changes include new taxiways to improve operational efficiency and safety, as well as projects for additional aircraft parking and expanded cargo facilities. Click here to see a summary of proposed projects.

“This plan allows us to begin design work for these new projects that will still require appropriate environmental review, capital planning, and relevant budgetary actions before any construction is approved,” says Bridget Rief, MAC vice president of planning and development. “It gives us a comprehensive framework for the facilities we need to accommodate future demand in a way that is strategic, safe, efficient, and cost-effective.”

The MSP Airport 2040 Long-Term Plan incorporated extensive research on passenger and aircraft trends along with current airport infrastructure capabilities. It also reflects feedback and input gathered through an inclusive stakeholder engagement program that included elected officials, regional community partners, airlines, federal and state agencies, business leaders, travel groups, and members of the public. The public engagement process recently concluded with the plan’s review by the Metropolitan Council to make sure the plan is consistent with all components of the regional development guide.

“The MSP Airport 2040 Long-Term Plan is an essential tool for ensuring that we maintain the highest industry rankings in operations and customer satisfaction,” says MAC Chair Rick King. “The plan identifies improvements that will be needed to boost air service and support job activity that are critical to the sustained economic growth of Minnesota for decades to come.”

Earlier this year, MSP won top global and large airport awards in Cirium’s 2023 On-Time Performance Review. Airports Council International (ACI) also named MSP as the best airport in North America through its global passenger survey program, in the 25-40 million passenger category. That recognition marked the third straight year—and seventh out of the last eight years—that MSP received the Airport Service Quality program title.