Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport
|Continent: North America||Country: United States||Region: Minnesota|
|Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport|
|Overview map||Google Maps|
126.7(Rwys 12R/30L & 04/22)
|Ground||121.8(North) 121.9(South) 127.925(West) 133.57(Metering)|
119.3(N or E of arrival Rwys & Rwy 17)
126.95(S or W of arrival Rwys & Rwys 04 and 11)
|Departure||124.7(S or E of arrival Rwys)
125.75(N or W of arrival Rwys)
- 1 Official Spotting Locations
- 2 Other Spotting Locations
- 3 Locations to Avoid
- 4 Spotting Locations Map
- 5 Regular Traffic
- 6 Facilities
- 7 Military Facilities
- 8 Links
Official Spotting Locations
Terminal 1 Concourse D Observation Deck (Ticketed Passengers Only)
The observation deck at MSP is located just prior to the Concourse D departure lounge, and is up a flight of stairs marked "Observation Deck", but the stairway and sign are somewhat concealed (it's immediately to your left as you transition from the hallway outside McDonald's to the departure lounge). The deck offers good views of Concourse C, D & E and on Runway 12L/30R, as well as traffic to and from Concourses A, B, C, D and E on the taxiway paralleling Runway 12L/30R. A lens of about 200mm on a 1.6 DSLR should be plenty for just about all operations visible from this location. The observation deck is covered by windows on all sides. Chairs go around most of the observation deck.
Cargo Road Spotting Lot (Free)
The airport's newest viewing area is next to the FedEx shipping center on the airfield near the intersection of runways 12R/30L and 4/22. It has parking, picnic tables, benches and trees that will eventually provide shade. Open every day from dawn to dusk, the free viewing area is now the closest option for aircraft spotting. From MN77 take the 66th Street exit and then take Longfellow Avenue to the south to Cargo Road. Turn left on Cargo Road and take it all the way to the end, just past the FedEx shipping center. The first tunnel goes under Runway 35/17, and the second tunnel goes under a taxiway entrance for freight aircraft.
Other Spotting Locations
Terminal 1 Parking Ramps ($$$)
This location gives you a great view of both the 12/30 runways and runway 4/22 as well. Drive up to the 8th or 9th floor, and you can walk (or drive) between the different ramps for different views.
Terminal 2 Parking Ramps ($$$)
This location gives you a pretty good view of most of the airfield. Terminal 2 gates, runways 17/35, 4/22, 12L/35R and the cargo area.
Post Road Cell Phone Lot (Free)
The observation lot which is marked "Cell Phone Lot" is for those who are not able to get into the terminal. From here you can view 12R/30L operations as well as see planes parked at concourse F & G. You are also able to see one of the Delta maintenance hangers.
From Highway 5: Take the Post Road exit and follow it west past a Super America gas station. The parking lot is on the left.
From I-494/Mall of America: Take the 34th Avenue exit towards the Terminal 2. Go past the terminal and take a right on Post Road.
Spotter notes: There is a large blast fence which blocks the right half of the area. This place is fantastic when 30L is in use as you can get a decent shot of every aircraft landing or departing. When 12R is in use generally you will miss all of the landings as they tend to exit to the left off the runway before they come into a good view.
Fort Snelling National Cemetery (Free)
Enter cemetery off of 34th Ave South. There are a few entrances/exits. Spotting location is on the north side of the cemetery above the "Post Road Cell Phone Lot". All of the views are the same as the cell phone lot but with a very slight higher vantage point. Some trees could get in the way of viewing. Please be respectful in this area. If asked to leave please do so.
Dog Park (Free)
This location is on the NW side of the airport just west of 28th Ave S and south of Hwy 62. At this location you can view departures or arrivals on runways 17/35, 12L/30R and 12R/30L. Many planes taxi in this area. You can see Terminals 1 & 2 but the are in the distance. Plenty of parking and wide open space for spotting.
Mall Of America East Parking Ramp (Free)
Located south of I-494 and east of 24th Ave South. Go to the top floor of the eastside parking ramp. You will get arrivals and departures of runway 17/35. Also a descent view of the Delta maintenance hangars. Mall security might ask you to leave if you're not going to the mall.
Locations to Avoid
Cargo Road/Longfellow Ave
Westside of the airport. Airport police will ask you to leave. (This does not include the Cargo Rd Spotting Lot).
Fort Snelling Old Barracks
Northeast side of the airport at the end of Taylor Rd or Bloomington Rd. Military police will ask you to leave...fast!
Spotting Locations Map
Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport (a former Northwest Airlines hub and a current hub for Delta Air Lines) doesn't get many year-round passenger heavies (with Delta and KLM as the two exceptions), but regional jets definitely frequent MSP 24/7. Seeing the heavies from other foreign airlines (Condor and Air France) is one of the big highlights during the summer months. KLM has year-round flights, currently switching back and forth from the A330-200 (during the summer months) to the 787-9 (during the winter months)
Heavies and regional jets will mainly use 12R/30L and 12L/30R, respectively. This shortens the length of their taxi routes to their assigned gates. Additionally, heavies will usually be assigned gates on Concourse G. Charters (usually about the size of a 737 or a 757) will park near Signature Flight Support, directly across from concourses G and F.
- KLM started 787-9 Dreamliner service to MSP. A330-300 service will begin on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, operating on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. KLM service will increase from 3x weekly to the following (with A330-200/300 equipment):
- x5 weekly; 21MAY18 – 01JUL18
- x4 weekly; 02JUL18 – 24OCT18
- JetBlue announced service to Boston, beginning May 3, 2018.
- Southwest Airlines announced service to Oakland, beginning July 15, 2018
- Icelandair will replace the 757-200 on flights to Reykjavik with the 737 MAX 8, beginning October 31st, 2018.
Commercial Airlines, Aircraft, and Concourses-Terminals
|Air Canada Express (operated by Sky Regional Airlines/"Maple")||Embraer E175||1-E|
|Air Choice One||Cessna Grand Caravan 208 (single turboprop)||1-B|
|Air France (early May - mid Sept)||A330-200 (begins May 1, 2018)||1-G|
|Alaska Airlines||737-700, 737-800, 737-900, Embraer E175 (operated by SkyWest and Horizon Air)||1-E|
|American Airlines||A319, A320, A321, 737-800, Embraer E190, MD-80||1-E|
|American Eagle||CRJ-700 (operated by PSA Airlines), Embraer ERJ-170 (operated by Republic Airlines)||1-E|
|Boutique Air||Pilatus PC-12 (single turboprop)||1-B|
|Condor Flugdienst (early May - late Aug on Mon, Tue, Thu, and Sat)||767-300||2-H|
|Delta Air Lines||A319, A320, A321, A330-200, A330-300, 717-200, 737-800, 737-900ER, 757-200, 757-300, 767-300ER, 777-200ER/LR, MD-88, MD-90||1-C, 1-D, 1-F, 1-G|
|Delta Connection||CRJ-100 (SkyWest), CRJ-200 (SkyWest and Endeavor Air), CRJ-700 (ExpressJet), CRJ-900 (ExpressJet, SkyWest, and Endeavor Air), Embraer ERJ-145, Embraer E170 (Compass Airlines), Embraer E175 (SkyWest)||1-A, 1-B, 1-C, 1-D, 1-F, 1-G|
|Frontier Airlines||A319, A320, A321||1-E|
|Icelandair||757-200, 757-300, 767-300 (seasonal), 737 MAX 8 (begins October 18, 2018)||2-H|
|JetBlue (begins May 3, 2018)||A320||2-H|
|KLM (Sun, Tues, Fri; schedules and aircraft change during summer and winter months)||787-9||1-G|
|Southwest Airlines||737-700, 737-800, 737 MAX 8||2-H|
|Sun Country Airlines||737-700, 737-800||2-H|
|Spirit Airlines||A319, A320, A321||2-H|
|United Airlines||A320, 737-400, 737-700, 737-800, 737-900||1-E|
|United Express||CRJ-700 (operated by GoJet and Mesa "Air Shuttle"), Embraer E170 (operated by SkyWest, Shuttle America, and Republic Airlines), Embraer E175 (operated by SkyWest)||1-E|
Cargo Airlines & Plane Type
|DHL (operated by Atlas Air)||767-200|
|DHL (operated by Suburban Air Freight)||Beechcraft 1900 (twin-turboprop)|
|Encore Air Cargo (DHL)||SW4|
|FedEx Express||A300-600, 757-200, DC-10, MD-11|
|FedEx Feeder (operated by Corporate Air)||Cessna Grand Caravan 208 (single turboprop)|
|FedEx Feeder (operated by CSA Cargo)||Cessna Grand Caravan 208 (single turboprop)|
|FedEx Feeder (operated by IFL Group Air Cargo)||Dassault Falcon 20|
|FedEx Feeder (operated by Mountain Air Cargo)||ATR-42 (twin-turboprop)|
|Suburban Air Freight (DHL)||B1900 (twin-turboprop)|
|UPS||A300-600, 757-200, DC-10, MD-11|
|UPS (seasonal)||747-400F (operated by Atlas Air) or
MD-11F (operated by Western Global Airlines)
|UPS (operated by Bemidji Air)||BE65 Queen Air, BE80 Queen Air, BE99, SW4|
|UPS (operated by IFL Group Air Cargo)||Dassault Falcon 20|
Military Plane Types
- C-5 Galaxy (VERY rare)
- C-130 Hercules
- RAF and USAF C-17 Globemasters (rare)
- KC-10 Refuelers
InterContinental Hotels has signed on to be the first full service on-site hotel at the airport with 300 rooms on 12 floors. It will open during the winter of 2017-2018. The new hotel will be skyway connected to the airport with its own security checkpoint. The hotel will also have an "observation bar" on the top floor. It will have floor to ceiling windows with views of both downtowns of Minneapolis and St Paul.
- Runway 4/22: 11,006 × 150 ft. (3,354 × 46 m), Condition: Good, Surface: Concrete
- Runway 12R/30L: 10,000 × 200 ft. (3,048 × 61 m), Condition: Excellent, Surface: Concrete
- Runway 12L/30R: 8,200 × 150 ft. (2,499 × 46 m), Condition: Good, Surface: Concrete
- Runway 17/35: 8,000 × 150 ft. (2,438 × 46 m), Condition: Excellent, Surface: Concrete
The Minneapolis–Saint Paul International Airport Joint Air Reserve Station at MSP is home to the 934th Airlift Wing (934 AW), an Air Force Reserve Command (AFRC) unit and the 133rd Airlift Wing (133 AW) of the Minnesota Air National Guard. Both units fly the C-130 Hercules and are operationally-gained by the Air Mobility Command (AMC). The 934th consists of over 1,300 military personnel, of which approximately 250 are full-time Active Guard and Reserve (AGR) and Air Reserve Technician (ART) personnel. The 133rd is similarly manned, making for a total military presence of over 2,600 full-time and part-time personnel.
The 934 AW serves as the "host" wing for the installation, which also includes lodging/billeting, officers club, Base Exchange (BX) and other morale, welfare and recreation (MWR) facilities for active, reserve/national guard and retired military personnel and their families.