It’s a 20 year airport expansion plan with a $2 billion price tag. And that’s after Minneapolis-St. Paul international airport just finished a ten year plan that came in about $3.2 billion.
Where’s all the money going? The new plan expands terminals – first Humphrey, then Lindbergh – and parking. Parking is a big deal, actually the biggest source of revenue, at the airport. It supplies about a third of the Metropolitan Airports Commission’s operating budget.
Money spent on the just finished expansion also went for terminal and parking expansion and a new north south runway. The next plan doesn’t include any new runways. Sort of a moot point, maybe, since there’s not a lot of room left at the airport.
Why all the expansion? The airport is widely viewed as an essential component in the region’s economy. Not having one that’s up to date risks losing air service. The projection is the expansion is needed to meet air travel demand by 2030 of 55 million passengers a year. Up from about 33 million now.
Don’t bet on expansion as a guarantee MSP will continue as a major hub airport. One big factor is the price of oil for jet fuel. Some futures prices spiked above $100 today due in part to the upheaval in Egypt. Rising fuel costs can drive up ticket prices and influence consumer travel choices.