Winds force MSP to use different runway

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Minnesotans may notice unusual airplane activity near Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) Thursday.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which owns and operates MSP, said strong southwest winds are causing planes to use a different runway than they normally use.

Typically, the airport uses parallel runways (12L/30R and 12R/30L) but aircraft were using Runway 22 Thursday morning due to the windy conditions.

MAC says air traffic controllers assign runways based on which one provides the greatest amount of headwind for planes for landings and takeoffs, especially when wind speeds are stronger than 10 mph.

That was certainly the case Thursday morning, as southwest winds were blowing 25 mph with gusts exceeding 45 mph at times.

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The number of flights delayed and canceled at MSP has grown since Thursday morning, many of which were affected by the wind. There were only 17 cancellations and 13 flights delayed as of 10 a.m., but those numbers grew to 37 cancelations and 173 delays by 6:30 p.m.

Many other flights were just fine — passengers arriving from Denver, Colorado around 1 p.m. told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS that other than the in-flight services stopping early, the flight was OK and the landing went well.  

“[It] wasn’t too bad,” Chase Reibenspies said about the flight,” adding: “It could have been worse you know, the pilot expected us to have some turbulence but it wasn’t all that bad.”

MAC said MSP will get back to using the parallel runways as soon as the conditions allow.