Runway 12L/30R to Reopen at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

MINNEAPOLIS-ST. PAUL – North Parallel Runway 12L/30R at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) reopens this evening, marking completion of a 20-year effort to replace aging runway pavements at the facility.

Construction began Aug. 18 on the $17.5 million project to reconstruct the 3,800-foot center section of pavement, which dated back to 1967. Since that time, air traffic has been redirected onto the airport’s three remaining runways, resulting in altered flight patterns and noise distribution around the airport.

Once the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) flight check of the runway’s instrument landing system is complete next week, runway use and the resulting flight patterns around MSP will return to pre-construction conditions.

“Despite the challenges presented by near-record rainfall in October, the runway is reopening according to schedule,” said Jeff Hamiel, Executive Director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which owns and operates MSP and six general aviation airports. “This was the last significant project in the $3.1 billion MSP 2010 expansion program. With the completion of that program, all pre-existing runway pavement has been replaced and a new 8,000-foot runway developed, providing ample airfield capacity for decades to come.”

The unusually cloudy, wet weather this month also contributed to numerous flight delays and cancelations. With Runway 12L/30R out of service, air traffic controllers had limited options for directing air traffic in periods of low visibility, when aircraft must be spaced further apart. Today’s runway reopening gives air traffic controllers’ more options, reducing the severity of potential delays. Once the FAA flight check is complete and Runway 12L/30R’s instrument landing system is fully operational next week, low ceilings (cloud cover) will have far less impact on flight schedules and operational patterns.

Residents living under the approach and departure flight paths for Runway 17/35 in Minneapolis and Runway 4/22 in St. Paul should notice a reduction in aircraft overhead. Eagan residents might also notice fewer aircraft taking off to the southeast from Runway 12R/30L. Residents of south Minneapolis who experienced a reduction in aircraft overhead in recent weeks will notice a return to pre-construction levels with flight patterns based on wind direction and weather conditions.