Sample Aviation Research Paper on Minneapolis St. Paul Airport Improvement Plans


The Minneapolis Saint Paul Airport was ranked fifth among the best airports for local tourism and leisure travels. The airport is under the management of the Metropolitan Airports Commission which was established in 1943 for the management of all aviation related transport business in the state of Minnesota. The commission therefore runs and funds all the businesses of the airport through revenue gained from its numerous activities such as utilization rents, passenger facility charges and grants. Additionally, the commission also gains from the issuance of bonds for the management of capital projects at the airport. Currently, various such projects are on-going at the MSP airport. The airport authorities are bent on improving service delivery in areas such as checking- in, passenger amenities, banking and dining among others. To accomplish this, one of the major projects that are currently on-going is that of the modernization and expansion of the Lindbergh terminal to accommodate more passengers at greater comfort.

Project Description

According to the Metropolitan Airports Commission, efficiency in the work of airports can be enhanced through the harmonization of the workings of various elements in the airport. The elements have to be balanced in order to perform efficiently and safely. As such, the MSP airport required the development of some facilities to improve their efficiency as well as to cater for the growing needs of air transport users. Some of the facilities at the airport could not address the dynamic needs of air transport users of the century hence the need to transform them into versions that could cater for all the customer needs safely and cost effectively. The airport had developed a new runway prior to 2015, resulting in the need for more facilities to balance the runway availability (Metropolitan Airport Commission E-1). Enhanced efficiency could be delivered through provision of additional parking and taxiway facilities, expansion of terminal and various landside facilities. The project was designed to be carried out in phases beginning from 2010 to 2030, and resulting in massive improvement of key areas of air transport operations. The majorly targeted areas included improvement of capacity and conditions of existing facilities, forecasting of aviating demands in the long term, determination of future needs of customers, development of various optional actions and decision on the exact actions to take.

The initial phase of the project began in 2010 and ended in 2015. The next phase, which is the expansion of the Lindbergh terminal, is on-going after beginning in 2015. The major goals of the commission in conducting these projects included: to improve the energy utilization efficiencies at the airport; to provide user friendly and environmentally friendly services, to enhance growth flexibility; to minimize the confusion that customers often felt due to the existence of two terminals and multiple entry points; to enhance the efficiency and safety of airline operations; to optimize capacity utilization in the available resources and to encourage utilization of public transportation means within the airport. With these objectives, a series of projects was outlined based on the inventories of the airport and the demands of the airport (Metropolitan Airport Commission E-2).

The Expansion and modernization project was undertaken by the airport’s management to cater for the increasing number of air transport users across the country. At the same time, the needs of air transport users have also been expanding hence the MAC saw the need to ensure that the airport was at par with its peers in terms of service provision developments. To address the key challenges of increase in number and complexity of travel needs, the commission decided to engage in the project which entails; addition of new gates, expansion of the international arrivals area, enhancing security screening, improving the baggage claim facilities, enhancing the arrivals curb area, development of an hotel and enhanced parking facilities for the visitors. The project started in 2015 and is expected to be completed by the end of 2020 as outlined in the long term project report from the commission (Metropolitan Airports Commission E-5). The map below shows the MSP airport. The Lindberg Terminal is clearly observable on

Figure 1: Minneapolis St. Paul Airport map (Google map)

            The project plan was developed based on a preliminary project planning model which allows for modifications within 20 years ranges. As such, it is expected that the project outlook as at now may be slightly different from what was observed as at the time of planning. With the wide range of improvements that are intended to have been accomplished by the end of the project timeline, it is expected that the project will cost $ 870 million to $ 960 million dollars. This money is to be funded through proceeds from the commission’s businesses, mainly the rents associated with the commission.


The airport improvement plan was designed to take place over the 20 years beginning from 2010. With improvements in various aspects of operations, it is expected that the efficiency and service delivery would increase relative to the amount of work done and expected outcomes. Not only will the airport be able to serve more passengers and airlines, but it will also be more efficient in its operations. In this way, it is bound to rise to even greater heights in terms of service delivery recognition.

Work Cited

Metropolitan Airports Commission. MSP long term comprehensive plan update Executive Summary. Accessed from