Updated: August 26, 2020 06:23 PM
Created: August 26, 2020 05:45 PM
Long-haul flights out of Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport likely won't return until next spring or even summer. Airlines began canceling international flights in March.
Jeff Lea, Metropolitan Airports Commission manager of strategic communications, said MSP is currently averaging 309 daily departures compared to 560 in August 2019. Airlines are operating 142 domestic routes and three international (Cancun, Calgary and Winnipeg) in August. A total of 64 routes remain suspended, 17 of which are international.
“That's partially because nobody is traveling right now and there are a lot of countries we can't get into,” said Daniel Burnham, senior operations specialist at Scott's Cheap Flights.
Delta Air Lines has confirmed it won’t resume its long-haul flights from MSP to Europe and Asia until at least spring of next year; flights to London, Amsterdam, Tokyo and many other countries have all been on pause since March.
“Something I just saw specifically out of the Twin Cities is that on March 28 of next year, so March 28 of 2021, Delta is theoretically scheduling its long-haul flights back to Toyko, Seoul, London, Paris and Amsterdam. I'm optimistic that these will stick,” said Burnham.
The changes could mean there will be fewer non-stop flights out of MSP, and more layover stops in Atlanta, Charlotte and Chicago.
“I would think that for winter 2021, 2022, assuming that the health situation improves, we will see something closer to what it would be today,” said Burnham.
Lea said while this is effecting the finances at MSP, “through a conservative financial approach, we have maintained among the best bond ratings of any airport in the nation, keeping costs of borrowing and repaying debt lower than at many other airports.”
If an airline cancels a passenger’s flight, the passenger is entitled to a cash refund, they do not have to take an airline credit — that's part of the U.S. Department of Transportation policy.
According to officials at MSP, here are some tentative starts for international service that is currently suspended:
Amsterdam, London, Paris – late March 2021
Seoul, Tokyo-Haneda – late March 2021
Frankfurt – Late May 2021, 3x/week service currently planned.
Reykjavik – anticipating April 2021.
Toronto – October 2020
Additional Mexico/Caribbean routes this winter
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