Last week Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Air Lines, and Jeff Hamiel, chief executive of Metropolitan Airports Commission, were both in town and spoke about future plans for the airline and Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. That, coupled with other announcements that’ve been made as of recent, adds up to a lot happening within the next few months and years. Here’s what’s happening:
At Delta Air Lines:
- Plans are in place to upgrade the airline’s fleet of jets, replacing regional ones that serve the airport with those that can seat more people. By 2019 the number of seats available on flights will increase by eight percent.
- Delta’s fleet of Boeing 747s will be replaced with Boeing’s new, fuel-efficient 787 aircraft and Airbus A350s. This change will unlock longer-haul markets.
- A nonstop flight to Asia is being discussed, and will potentially be offered in the next three to five years. No final destination has been specified, but a lot of people around here are hoping for China.
- Seasonal flight options from MSP Airport to the Caribbean have expanded. In January 2015 weekly service will begin to Montego Bay in Jamaica and Nassau in the Bahamas, and that same month seasonal service to San Jose, Costa Rica will be reinstated. Service to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic will also increase during the high demand season starting in February 2015.
- Since August 1, all passengers on domestic aircraft and two-cabin regional jet flights that are 90 minutes or longer have been able to enjoy free entertainment. Through either their seat, laptop, mobile or tablet device passengers now have access to hit movies, popular television shows, music, and video games.
At Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport:
- It has been proposed to add more gates to Terminal 2, and more parking ramps to Terminal 1. The Quick Ride Ramp will open in January, but there is intention for more.
- The commission wants to increase the efficiency of security lines. The thought is to consolidate to two checkpoints that are wider and better staffed.
- There’s potential for a hotel. It would be upper-scale, cater to business travelers, and possibly located either east of Concourse G or near the existing parking ramps.
- An aircraft viewing area is on the wish list, so there would be a spot for the general public to watch the planes land and take off.
- Construction began on what will be Minnesota’s largest solar generation site. The airport will house a three-megawatt solar installation on the top deck of two of Terminal 1’s parking structures, as well as convert parking ramp light fixtures to energy-saving technology, and add four more electronic vehicle charging stations. Once completed and when the airport is at peak capacity, this should generate close to 20 percent of the airport’s total power supply, making it one of the most energy-efficient in the world.
- A Minnesota Wild-themed restaurant, aptly named The Wild, will open at Terminal 2 in late October. The idea is to create the feel of being in a suite at Xcel Energy Center for a game, with plenty of televisions and authentic hockey decor, including hockey stick-shaped menus.