Smooth operator

MSP ranks as nation's second-best airport in operational efficiency

Minneapolis–St. Paul International Airport (MSP) is one of the most efficient airports in North America, says a recent study. The "Airport Benchmarking Report" analyzed the operational and management efficiency and cost competitiveness of 195 airports and 26 airport groups in North America, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. It places MSP, which generates more than $10 billion annually for the local economy, at No. 2 in North America, behind the Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

The report describes more efficient airports as ones deriving a larger share of revenues from concession and other retail activities, parking, office rentals, and real estate development, says Tae Oum, a professor at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business and chairman of the Air Transport Research Society, which publishes the study.

Forty-six percent of MSP's $276 million annual operating budget comes from airport parking, auto rental, in-terminal and outdoor advertising, and food, retail and passenger services businesses, says airport spokesman Patrick Hogan. That compares to 37 percent from airline rates and charges, 12 percent from other space rental and fees, and 5 percent from utilities payments and miscellaneous sources.

"The ranking is important because it demonstrates that Minneapolis–St. Paul International is a well-managed public asset and a good place to catch a flight or do business," Hogan says. "One of our key strengths when it comes to attracting and maintaining air service is the ability for airlines to operate at MSP at a lower cost than they can at most other large U.S. airports." Find the full report at atrsworld.org.