Archives February 2021

Awards and Rankings of the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is arguably the most valuable revenue generator between Seattle and the Saint Croix River, supporting over 80,000 jobs, $546 million in local and state taxes, two-and-a-half billion dollars in local purchases, over three-and-a-half billion dollars in personal income, and close to $16 billion in business revenue (source: Credit Plus).

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is the twelfth-busiest U.S. airport for aircraft operations and seventeenth-busiest for passengers. It is also the second largest hub for Delta Airlines and a base for local carrier Sun Country Airlines.

Owing to Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport’s leadership and success, it has been the recipient of numerous awards in various categories, including communications and marketing, airport development and design, concessions, ice and snow control, legal oversight, labor relations, fiscal management, and safety.

In 2016, the airport’s staff were named as the best in North America by Skytrax. In 2017, the Air Transportation Research Society named Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport as the best airport for efficiency excellence in North America in its size category. Airports Council International recently recognized Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport’s retail program as the best among North American Airports.

From an unutilized prairie to an auto-racing venue, to one of the busiest airports in North America, Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is an essential driver of the Twin Cities Machine. The airport’s launch contributed to the region’s significance as a transportation hub. Consequently, this has helped generate significant revenue, employment opportunities, business opportunities, and has made traveling more convenient. The history of Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport has been characterized by various expansions and this is likely to continue in the future. Although the recent pandemic has disrupted the air transportation industry, it is highly likely that passenger growth will continue on its upward trajectory once normalcy resumes. As more passengers continue to use the airport, an expansion will be necessary to ensure that the available resources are not stretched.

The history of Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is one to gaze upon with awe. Since its establishment, Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport has set the standard on what quality service entails. Its innovations in the fields of communications and marketing, airport development and design, concessions, ice and snow control, legal oversight, labor relations, fiscal management, and safety are quite admirable. If history is anything to go by, Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport will continue to be a leader in its field and come up with more innovations that will revolutionize the airport industry for the better.…

The Renaming and Expansion of Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport

Expansion

In its long history, Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport has gone through various transformations, from the 1st landing strip to the launch of passenger service, to changing its name, to the massive expansion that characterized the Sixties, including the construction of Lindbergh and Humphrey Terminals (Terminals One and Two)

Immediately after the Metropolitan Airports commission was established, they started planning the expansion of Wold-Chamberlain with the aim of making the Twin Cities a transport center. In 1944, Wold-chamberlain Field was renamed Minneapolis- St Paul Metropolitan Airport. In 1948, the word “International” replaced “Metropolitan” and the airfield became known as Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport

The construction of Terminal 1 or “Lindbergh Terminal as it was previously known, started in 1958 and took 4 years to complete. The six-hundred square foot, 24 gates, 2 concourse terminal was made open to the public in January 1963. The terminal was later expanded in 1971, 1972, and 1986. The last major expansion of the Lindbergh Terminal also marked the beginning of the construction of the Humphrey Terminal (Terminal 2).

When Terminal 1 was opened to the public, it was projected to serve 4 million travelers by the mid 1970’s. However, this projection underestimated passenger growth with the number of passengers exceeding 4 million as early as 1967. In the years that followed the increase of passengers continued to exceed projections. To tackle this issue, Minnesota lawmakers passed the 1989 Metropolitan Airport Planning Act, launching the Dual Track Airport Planning exercise. Conducted by the Metropolitan Council and Metropolitan Airport Commission, the 7-year planning exercise investigated options for offering required air service facilities and capacity for the area.

In 1996, the study was completed and the Metropolitan Airport Commission was directed by the Minnesota Legislature to implement Minneapolis-St Paul’s Long-Term Comprehensive Plan, offering slightly over three billion dollars in airport improvements at the current location. Virtually all aspects of Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport have changed since then with an unprecedented expansion of Terminal One, construction of Terminal Two, expansion of parking and roadways, creation of 2 computer-aided airport trams, and the incorporation of a light-rail system to connect Terminals One and Two to the downtowns of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the Mall of America.

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport has continued to witness consistent growth in passenger traffic over the last two decades. In 2019, Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport served 39.5 million travelers. The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic saw this number greatly reduced due to travel restrictions and safety precautions against the spread of the virus. However, as the Pandemic eases more people will begin to travel once more and the previous figures are likely to continue rising. Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is planning to further expand both terminals and incorporate 15 more gates between them. As part of this plan, an additional five-thousand parking spot has been constructed at the airport, as well as a two-hundred-and-ninety room Inter Continental Hotel at Terminal One.

Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport’s rising success and sleek appearance combined with the region’s notorious winters made it the ideal place to shoot the 1970 movie Airport, starring Dean Martin and Burt Lancaster. In the same year, a company launched helicopter flights from Minneapolis-St Paul to downtown Minneapolis, Mankato, Rochester, and St. Cloud. However, the helicopter company ceased operations 4 months after the launch of the downtown Minneapolis route.…

History of Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport

Located in the middle of the Twin Cities near the banks of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers, the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is an essential transport center in the upper Midwest and has helped develop the metropolitan area for a hundred years. The International Airport is nestled among the suburban cities of Richfield, Mendota Heights, Eagan, and Bloomington. It has one airfield featuring 4 runways and 2 terminal buildings (terminals 1 and 2). Both terminals have adjoining parking ramp facilities, and passengers transfer between the two terminals using a light rail transit service since the buildings do not feature pedestrian access. The Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport is run and managed by the Metropolitan Airports Commission, a public organization that coordinates aviation services in the metropolitan area. Initially, the airport was designated Speedway Field after the Twin City Speedway. In 1921, Speedway Field was renamed Wold-Chamberlain Field after WW1 veterans Cyrus Chamberlain and Earnest Wold. The name Minneapolis-St Paul was introduced in 1944, and in 1948 the airport was officially named Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport. In this article, we will explore some of the important highlights in the history of Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport.

Trading Vehicles for Planes

In 1914, the area now known as Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport was occupied by Snelling Speedway. The land was initially altered in 1915 when the Twin City Motor Speedway established a track for cars. The Speedway lasted for 2 years and was later sold to Minneapolis Aero Club, after an unsuccessful run as an auto-racing venue. In 1920 a hangar was built on the property to facilitate airmail service, and the property was renamed Speedway Field. In 1921, three more hangars were constructed for the National Guard Observation Squadron and the property was renamed Wold-Chamberlain Field after 2 pilots from Minnesota who died in the line of duty.

The Beginning of a New Era

In 1926, Northwest Airways (later renamed Northwest Airlines), launched its base at Wold-Chamberlain Field. This marked the start of their 82-year run before merging with Delta in 2008. The Airline’s first passenger route was launched in July 1927, servicing Saint Paul to Chicago. At the time, the cost of a one-way ticket was $50 (More than $700 when you account for inflation). The half-day flight from Saint Paul to Chicago had stops in Milwaukee, La Crosse, and Madison. A subsequent hanger was established in 1928, and the property was acquired by the Minneapolis Park Board for $165 (more than two and a half million dollars when you account for inflation).

The launch of Holman Field in Saint Paul led to intense competition as the two airports sought to command the highest market share. To differentiate their service and generate more revenue, Wold-Chamberlain Field launched short, affordable sigh-seeing trips that lasted between 7-15 minutes. It soon became apparent that having two airports in Saint Paul was not an optimal solution. Governor Harold Stassen and Northwest Airlines presented the benefits of having 1 major airport instead of 2 to state legislators, lobbying in favor of Wold-Chamberlain Field. In 1941, Northwest Airlines moved from Holman Field, and two years later the Metropolitan Airports Commission was launched to run the region’s airfields.…