A message from the MAC Chair, June 2024

A message from the MAC Chair, June 2024

May 21, 2024


Welcome to the Summer of Europe. That’s what some are calling the summer of 2024 due to a major surge in passengers heading to European destinations at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) as new and existing airlines increase capacity from MSP to places such as Dublin, Frankfurt and more. MSP is experiencing an all-time high capacity to Europe with 28% more airline seats than a year ago and 14% more than the previous high set in 2019.

Earlier this month, we welcomed our 19th airline when Lufthansa started service at MSP on June 4. The German airline is our first new trans-atlantic carrier since 2020. The year-round service to Frankfurt opens up more frequent and convenient flight options and connections across Europe and East Africa. Additionally, this spring Aer Lingus brought back its service to Dublin, while Delta Air Lines added a new route to the Irish capital as well.

Regardless of your destination, summer travel is expected to be busy at airports across the country. U.S. airlines and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are predicting record-setting passenger volumes nationally between Memorial Day and Labor Day. This point was underscored on Sunday, June 23, when the TSA reportedly hit an all-time daily high for number of travelers screened nationwide. Summer will also bring us the highest level of average daily departures – 474 – in five years at MSP. That’s 9% more than a year ago during the same period. We’re pleased to see the surge in travel and are grateful for new and continued partnerships with airlines to provide in-demand service for our business and leisure travelers.

Summer events underway at relievers

Summer is also a busy time at our six general aviation airports. Several of our airports host community events where families can see airplanes and other vehicles up close.

Earlier this month, Airlake Airport had a Father’s Day pancake breakfast and Crystal Airport hosted a Father’s Day Open House and Fly-In that included a warbird flyover, aircraft displays, helicopter rides and more. You can still check out the annual Lions Fly-in Breakfast as a part of Lakeville’s Pan-o-Prog festivities on Sunday, July 7, at Airlake and the Girls in Aviation Day on Sept. 21, at Flying Cloud Airport.

MAC board approves MSP Airport’s Long-Term Plan

After extensive work by MAC staff that included community engagement as well as research on passenger and aircraft trends and current airport infrastructure capabilities, the MAC board officially approved MSP’s Long-Term Plan. This essential tool will help ensure that we maintain the highest industry rankings in operations and customer satisfaction by identifying improvements that will be needed to boost air service and support job activity critical to sustaining Minnesota’s economic growth for decades to come.

Highlights of the projects proposed in the long-term plan include new gates at Terminal 2 to the south and a long-term project to extend Concourse G in Terminal 1. There are also plans to reconstruct concourses E and F and to create an underground 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.

While the plan includes proposed projects to improve MSP facilities, additional steps would be needed before construction is authorized. The MAC will follow the required environmental review process and vote on separate budget actions to authorize construction of specific projects in the plan.

I am proud of the collective effort that went into creating this plan, and I know it will allow us to continue to provide exceptional airport experiences so that Minnesota thrives well into the future.

MAC CEO recognized

Congratulations to MAC Executive Director and CEO Brian Ryks, who was selected by the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal for its 2024 Most Admired CEO list. Each year the list recognizes 10 Twin Cities executives for their outstanding professional successes and civic leadership.

We are fortunate to have a talented leader like Brian, who focuses on stakeholder engagement, constant improvement and innovation – all key priorities that fuel the resilience and growth of MSP and the entire MAC system. Brian guided the organization through big challenges during the pandemic and has led us to a robust recovery. Thanks to his leadership and the development of the MAC’s Enterprise Strategic Plan, we’ve been able to invest in significant airport improvement projects and we’ve seen a significant rebound in passenger levels since the pandemic.

As we head into the summer of Europe and a busy travel season overall, I am grateful for Brian and everyone who helps deliver on our purpose of providing exceptional airport experiences so Minnesota thrives. To those of you who will be hopping on a plane this summer, I hope you feel that same level of service each time you fly out of one of our excellent airports – I know I do.


Rick King