Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) surpassed 31.2 million total passengers in 2022, marking a 24% increase in passenger activity compared to 2021. MSP’s year-end passenger and operations report shows the airport is on a steady and promising recovery path after three years of impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Our recovery over the last year included several bright spots, highlighted by a continued expansion of domestic routes and a significant rebound in international service,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, which operates MSP. “As we look to further close the gap to pre-pandemic passenger levels, we’re encouraged airlines have already announced new destinations and flight frequencies for 2023 and that they continue to utilize larger aircraft with more seat capacity to meet increased demand out of MSP.”
MSP’s 31.2 million passengers in 2022 marks a 79% recovery to the 39.6 million total passengers in 2019. Passenger activity dropped to 14.9 million in 2020 and has increased by 16.3 million passengers over the last two years. MSP supported 310,235 aircraft operations (takeoffs and landings, all types of aircraft) in 2022, up 2% from 2021’s 303,892 operations.
Scheduled passenger airline flights accounted for 89% of all aircraft operations at MSP, averaging 756 per day, up from a daily average of 741 in 2021. Another airline trend in the last year has been the change in fleet mix. Airlines at MSP are increasingly operating routes with larger aircraft—which offer more seats per flight—to meet demand across their networks. Available seats on all departing flights grew by 7% in 2022 compared to the previous year.
Major airline carrier operations grew more than 19% in 2022, totaling 180,798 operations. Operations by regional airlines, which typically fly 50-76 seat aircraft, totaled 95,248 — a decline of 20% versus 2021.
Total non-stop destinations grew to 145 – up from 137 in 2021 – due to a combination of new routes and returning destinations previously paused during the pandemic. International travel saw its most significant rebound from pandemic impacts in 2022, with more than two million passengers flying to or from the Twin Cities. This is a 175% increase over 2021. The restart of several international routes included Delta’s non-stop service to London and Seoul, and Condor’s route to Frankfurt. Air Canada and Sun Country also launched new non-stops from MSP to Canada – Montreal and Vancouver, respectively.
The top five airlines in passenger market share in 2022 were:
The most popular passenger aircraft at MSP in 2022 was the Boeing 737-800 with more than 35,800 operations, or 11.7% of all jet activity. The Airbus A321 was a close second with more than 35,500 operations, or 11.6% of all jet operations at MSP.
The total amount of cargo goods transported through MSP held steady in 2022, totaling 236,450 metric tons.
At the start of 2023, airlines are reportedly operating an average of 358 departures a day, with first quarter total seats tracking 7.5% greater than 2022. Airlines have announced 20 new domestic routes from MSP for the current winter season or upcoming summer, including new non-stop service to Atlantic City, NJ; Colorado Springs, CO; Melbourne, FL; and Wilmington, NC.