MSP International Airport sets new passenger record in 2017

Feb 15, 2018

In 2017, a record 38,034,341 passengers traveled through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), 1.4 percent more than in 2016. The previous record of 37,604,373 was set in 2005.

In 2009, following the bankruptcies and mergers of Northwest and Delta Air Lines and the 2008 national recession, MSP had fallen to its modern-day low of 32,379,195 passengers. Passenger levels have grown slowly but steadily since then toward the 2017 peak.

Eight airlines have launched service to MSP since 2008: Air Choice One, Air France, Alaska, Boutique, Condor, KLM, Southwest and Spirit. In May 2018, Jet Blue will become the 9th, with three daily departures to Boston.

brian ryks

“For eight years, we’ve experienced steady, sustainable growth at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport,” said Brian Ryks (pictured), executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP and six general aviation airports. “While MSP remains Delta Air Lines’ second largest hub and home to Sun Country Airlines, we have seen significant growth in recent years by low-cost competitors such as Southwest, Spirit and Frontier. We’ve also seen a shift away from regional airlines toward more seats flown by mainline carriers using larger aircraft. The result is that passenger growth has far outpaced the increase in flight activity, which is good news from an environmental standpoint.”

Aircraft operations (landings and takeoffs) in 2017 totaled 416,213, up 0.7 percent over 2016. The 2017 operations total remains far below the 2004 peak, when MSP experienced 541,093 aircraft operations.

From a market share perspective, hub carrier Delta Air Lines and its regional partners carried nearly 70.7 percent of passengers in 2017, followed by Sun Country (6.6 percent), American (6.4 percent), Southwest (5.6 percent), United (4.6 percent) and Spirit (3.4 percent). The other 10 airlines serving MSP carried the remaining 2.7 percent of travelers.

In 2017, 60 percent of people boarding planes at MSP began their journey at the airport. The other 40 percent began their journey elsewhere and simply connected to another flight at MSP. Those connecting travelers were a driving force behind MSP’s ability to offer service to more than 159 direct destinations in 2017, 58 of which are served by multiple airlines.

Some 229,440 metric tons of cargo moved through MSP in 2017, nearly 11 percent more than in 2016.

An economic impact study published in September 2017 estimates that MSP supports 86,900 jobs and generates $15.9 billion in total economic output for the Twin Cities metropolitan area. The airport generates $2.5 billion in visitor spending annually and generates $973 million in taxes for local, state and federal programs.