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Sun Country growth has Terminal 2 on record pace

​Driven by Sun Country Airlines' transformation into an ultra-low-cost carrier and its addition of eight new routes this spring, MSP Airport's Terminal 2 is on pace to set a record in 2019 for the number of passengers who pass through its doors.

Through July, passenger volume at Terminal 2 was up 9.4 percent compared with the same timeframe last year (3,024,575 million), says Kevin Griffin, manager of Airline Operations & Facilities at Terminal 2.

"We're definitely going to break an all-time record here at Terminal 2 for passengers," said Griffin. "We should exceed 5 million in 2019."

The previous record was 4.6 million in 2014.

More seats, bigger planes
As part of Sun Country's transformation, the airline installed "slimline seats" in its planes and eliminated its first-class section. For its fleet of Boeing 737-800s, this allows each aircraft to carry 183 people compared with 162 previously – a capacity increase of nearly 13 percent.

Sun Country will also phase out its fleet of smaller Boeing 737-700s, which can carry up to 126 people, and replace them with the larger 737-800s.

"They're also changing the way they manage their route structure at MSP – they're following demand more closely and keeping seats filled," said Griffin.

A strong economy has also led to an increase in travelers, said Griffin. Passenger volume at Terminal 1 through June was up 4.3 percent over June 2018 levels. 

What does this mean for our travelers and the MAC?

Certainly increased revenues are always part of the equation when more people come through our facilities. That's a great thing for the MAC and its revenue-producing partners. At the same time, for both terminals, increases in passengers can sometimes result in longer wait times at check-in, security and concessions, and can add to traffic congestion at the curb-fronts. It also drives the need for additional resources to clean and maintain the terminals. That's why it's important we work diligently with our partners today to reduce those impacts and also plan for the future, which the MAC has begun to do with its MSP Airport 2040 long term plan. The plan, when completed, will help the MAC understand better what facility improvements may be needed and when.