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State of the Airport event offers good news about travel

Expert predicts holiday travel season will be much closer to normal
Expert predicts holiday travel season will be much closer to normal 02:20

MINNEAPOLIS – The annual State of the Airport address, which had been canceled two years in a row due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was held Friday at the Intercontinental Hotel near Terminal 1. 

The event saw attendance from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport leaders, along with select employees of the airport. Also in attendance were various elected officials.

A message from Minnesota Governor Tim Walz was played at the conference, in which the governor called MSP, "one of the most influential drivers of our local economy". Walz, from his campaign trail for re-election this November, stressed that MSP is, "crucial to the thriving Minnesota."

Several executives spoke at the conference, including Rick King, the chair of the Metropolitan Airports Commission. King explained that the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport has seen an explosive return to travel. "We're seeing domestic travel rebound considerably. Personal leisure travel is unbelievable. It seems like everyone wants to go somewhere. They don't really care where, they just want to go."

King also cited the returning of flights to places like London, Seoul, and Vancouver as signs of travel returning to pre-pandemic levels.

Sun Country Airlines CEO Jude Bricker also gave a speech in which he echoed King's earlier claims of travel returning to normal. He also gave praise to MSP, saying, "We all fly in and out of [MSP] and come to expect a really great airport experience, but that's just not always the case with other places… what we have here is really special."

Sun Country Airlines CEO Jude Bricker gives his keynote address. Bricker discussed the increase of travel out of MSP, and discussed its importance to Sun Country. CBS

MSP has been highly praised recently. In the most recent J.D. Power survey, it ranks highest in passenger satisfaction among mega airports with a score of 800. That's higher than San Francisco International Airport, Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport, and John F. Kennedy International Airport, which each earned a score of 791.

Brian Ryks, Executive Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, addresses the crowd at the 2022 State of the Airport Luncheon.  CBS

Executive Director and CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission Brian Ryks touched on this heightened level of customer satisfaction. He attributed some of the success of MSP to the improvements MSP has recently seen, such as increased parking, advanced badge-swipe technology for employees, new artwork featured throughout the terminals, and brand new disability resources. 

Ryks said, "These improvements have completely transformed [the passengers'] experiences".

The conference adjourned with Ryks saying that MSP will move forward boldly to continue to be one of the best airports in North America.

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