With the nation in the process of reopening for business, we’re seeing signs, albeit small, that demand for air travel might also have begun to slowly reemerge.
I want to take a moment to update you on impacts of the pandemic on Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, steps the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) and our business partners are taking to help prevent spread of COVID-19 at MSP, and how you can help us keep travel safe for everyone.
Travel Remains Heavily Impacted
In May the number of passengers being screened at MSP security checkpoints was down a little more than 91 percent compared to the same period a year ago. While that decline remains enormous it is less than the 95 percent reduction we consistently experienced in April.
The volume of vehicles parking in airport ramps is also showing some signs of improvement. Currently customers are using between 6 and 8 percent of ramp capacity, compared to 2 and 4 percent throughout most of April. From an air service perspective, airline schedules show an average of 124 daily departures this month, compared to 501 in May 2019.
Airlines have suspended 105 routes but continue to serve 92. Airlines are flying about 1.5 million fewer aircraft seats from MSP than they did a year ago. Spirit and JetBlue have joined foreign air carriers in suspending all service to MSP.
Keeping Travel Safe
Since March, when increased cleaning and sanitizing of the airport, we have continued to work with airlines, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and concessionaires to develop and implement strategies to help prevent spread of COVID-19 among MSP travelers and employees.
The MAC began installing Plexiglass shields at documentation stations in security checkpoints and international arrivals facilities. We are also erecting shields at information booths and other areas where there is close contact between our staff or volunteers and customers. We are seeing airlines follow suit with plans for shields at ticket and gate counters.
We continue to expand signage to encourage social distancing, and we’ve created dozens of hand-sanitizing stations throughout our terminals. Social distancing and frequent handwashing or use of hand sanitizer are important steps people can take to safeguard their own health. It’s important that everyone do what they can to keep those around them healthy as well.
We Need Your Help
Consistent with the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Minnesota Department of Health, I highly recommend that everyone wear face coverings while at any MAC airport.
It appears that most people working at MSP and many passengers are already wearing face coverings, but it’s important that everyone put on a face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. The goal is for everyone to wear face coverings in all public areas of the MAC’s airports, both indoors and outdoors.
Obviously, it is appropriate to temporarily remove a face covering during certain activities such as for identification verification, eating and drinking. But otherwise, please cover your nose and mouth to help keep those around you safe.
Guidance from health officials indicates it is not advisable for some people to wear face coverings, such as children younger than 2 years old, those who have difficulty breathing, or those with other valid medical reasons. But if it is safe for you to wear one please do so. As a reminder, cloth face coverings are believed to inhibit the transmission of COVID-19 from a sick person only; they do not directly protect the wearer from infection.
Please continue to socially distance, wash your hands often, and take other recommended precautions.
More information regarding wearing cloth face coverings can be found here:
I appreciate your cooperation in this regard. Keeping people healthy is a top priority for me and for everyone at the MAC.
MAC Executive Director and CEO