One Year Deferral of Minneapolis Airport Terminal Expansion Under Consideration

MINNEAPOLIS & ST. PAUL, Minn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sept. 7, 2005--Metropolitan Airports Commission Chairwoman Vicki Tigwell today asked Commission staff to assess potential airline impacts of deferring the planned expansion of MSP's Humphrey Terminal by one year, to June 2008. The 2020 Vision expansion plan announced in 2004 originally called for new gates to be available in June 2007.

"For the past eighteen months, Commission staff has worked with airlines to develop a plan for MSP that will meet the capacity needs of the airport and the air service needs of the Twin Cities for years to come," Tigwell said. "In recent conversations with officials at Northwest Airlines, they indicated the industry continues to be adversely affected by higher fuel prices exacerbated by Hurricane Katrina. In light of those fuel costs and a change in their short-term capacity outlook, Northwest officials have advised me they do not believe they will need the additional gates outlined in Phase One of the 2020 Vision expansion plan until June 1, 2008, one year later than originally projected."

Consequently, Tigwell today directed MAC staff to contact other airlines at MSP to ascertain their gate need projections and to report back to the MAC board next month regarding potential impacts of postponing the Humphrey Terminal expansion by one year.

The MAC has postponed other projects in years past in response to industry conditions. Expansion of the Lindbergh Terminal's Northstar Crossing shopping and dining area was delayed after the terrorist attacks of 9-11-01 but opened to the public last month. Also, MSP's new fourth runway, which will open in October 2005, was originally slated to be completed in 2003 but was deferred twice due to economic pressures following 9-11.

"The 2020 expansion program remains essential to meeting our long-term capacity needs," Tigwell said. "The decision before us now is really one of timing. Our goal at the Metropolitan Airports Commission is simply to ensure we have gates available when they are needed."

CONTACT: Metropolitan Airports Commission Patrick Hogan, 612-726-5335 KEYWORD: MINNESOTAINDUSTRY KEYWORD: TRAVEL AIRLINES TRANSPORTATIONSOURCE: Metropolitan Airports Commission