MSP saw 24% increase in travelers in 2022

Air travel at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) made a significant jump last year as the industry continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Monday, the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP, said the airport saw a 24% increase in travelers last year compared to 2021.

“Our recovery over the last year included several bright spots, highlighted by a continued expansion of domestic routes and a significant rebound in international service,” Brian Ryks, the CEO of MAC, said. “As we look to further close the gap to pre-pandemic passenger levels, we’re encouraged airlines have already announced new destinations and flight frequencies for 2023 and that they continue to utilize larger aircraft with more seat capacity to meet increased demand out of MSP.”

In 2022, MSP saw 31.2 million passengers, which is nearly 80% of the 39.6 million travelers the airport saw in 2019 before the pandemic hit. Only 14.9 million travelers went through MSP in 2020.

Additionally, the airport supported 310,235 aircraft takeoffs and landings last year, up 2% from 2021, with the vast majority of those being scheduled passenger airline flights. MAC says MSP averaged 756 passenger airline flights per day in 2022, up from 741 per day in 2021.

Another trend MAC noticed last year is a change in fleet mix, with airlines more frequently operating routes with larger aircraft to meet demands. Major airline carrier operations grew more than 19% last year while regional airline operations at MSP dropped 20%.

MAC says the most popular passenger plane at MSP in 2022 was the Boeing 737-800, which accounted for 11.7% of all jet activity. The Airbus A321 was a close second at 11.6% of all operations.

Finally, total non-stop destinations grew slightly last year, increasing from 137 in 2021 to 145 in 2022. MAC says international travel saw its most significant rebound from the pandemic, with more than 2 million passengers flying to or from MSP, a 175% increase from 2021.

MAC and MSP are hoping this year will see even higher traveler totals, and say 2023 is off to a good start. So far this year, MAC says MSP is averaging 358 departures per day and first-quarter seat totals are trending 7.5% higher than 2022.