Delta Plans to Add Nonstop Service to China From MSP
Delta Air Lines likely will add a nonstop flight from the Twin Cities to Asia within the next three to five years. That was the big news delivered by Delta CEO Richard Anderson Tuesday during a luncheon in Minneapolis attended by about 500 business and community leaders.
Anderson, who led Eagan-based Northwest Airlines before it merged with Atlanta-based Delta, was the keynote speaker at the Airport Foundation MSP event.
Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport is already among the busiest airports in the nation, and Anderson projected that Delta will increase its seat capacity in the Twin Cities market by 8 percent within the next five years.
Jeff Hamiel, executive director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), emphasized that MSP has been successful in attracting new airlines to the airport, which has increased competition for Delta.
Hamiel, Anderson and Airport Foundation staff highlighted other service and terminal improvements, which were chronicled by several media outlets. Here is a round up of the key developments.
A Smoother Experience: Expect improved security check wait times, more parking spaces and gates and a potential on-site hotel in the near future. The Pioneer Press reports that while nothing is finalized, the changes could come as soon as 2016. At Terminal 2/Humphrey, the MAC will add three gates, pushing up gate facilities to 13. Spirit Airlines will be moving to Terminal 1 early next year to give Sun Country Airlines more room to grow. A “high-end hotel” that would connect directly to the airport is on many MSP officials’ wish lists.
Larger Jets: Over the next five years, Delta Air Lines, which has a hub at MSP, plans to boost the number of seats available on flights by 8 percent. In part, this will be achieved by swapping out regional jets with larger planes that seat more people, according to MPR News.
Nonstop to Asia: While Delta’s Anderson did not name a specific destination city, he told the audience during the “State of the Airport” luncheon that another nonstop flight to Asia could happen within a few years. The Star Tribune says that many in the business community are hoping the flight will head to China, which currently requires a transfer either in the United States or Tokyo. With 50,000 to 100,000 Chinese tourists flocking to the Mall of America annually, the flight could also open up significant commercial benefits for the state. Delta currently operates international flights to London, Paris, Amsterdam and Tokyo.
New Tastes: Terminal 2/Humphrey is smaller, quieter and often less stressful than the much larger Terminal 1/Lindbergh, though that has meant a more limited selection of amenities. A Minnesota Wild-themed restaurant will open in late October, joining the growing list of places to grab a bite. Aptly named “The Wild,” the 200-plus-seat restaurant will feature authentic hockey memorabilia, including hockey sticks collected from around the state as part of a fascia for the bar, according to the Minnesota Wild.