The "hundreds of daily flights" canceled over several months included, so far, more than 30,000 trips. We think that is enough, considering almost every flight in the U.S. had been 98+ percent full, to account for MSP "demand" as reported by the MAC. The airport use planning problems are: a) how many people are not flying at all out of safety concern generally; b) how many people are replacing them for a longer trip because of the B737 MAX grounding; c) if the canceled flights are re-opened using other aircraft, what will change compared to June 2019; and d) if B-737 MAX are perrmitted to fly, see a) above.
MSP LTCP Update --Still Pending
FAA is stinging from (deserved) criticism about certification of the B-737 MAXs without enough sensor reliabilty stress-testing, MCAS flight testing and MCAS simulator training emphasis in Manuals. The FAA reportedly found another software conflict of some kind according to the Seattle Times. Groundings may not be lifted this year.
Airlines that used the MAXs have canceled hundreds of daily flights, but many passengers are finding alternative flights and routes. Delta, for example, has had an increase at MSP. At MSP, a feedback loop --Delta is a big employer and buyer here --amplifies Delta short-term plans.
a] Delta does 70%+ of MSP flight operations and has by far the largest hub-connection fleet, the most income from passengers and many expenses from scheduling complexity, gate use and terminal space for baggage, cargo, counters, waiting rooms, TSA access, etc.
b] Delta doesn't fly B-737 MAX aircraft, and SW and AA haven't used MAXs at MSP. So MSP may be experiencing a temporary increase in passengers because of the grounding.
c] Delta bought some cheap MD-88, 90 aircraft and smaller CRJs a few years ago. Their fleet is being changed at MSP, older aircraft are being retired or sold off. New extended-range Airbus planes and slightly larger CRJs will need more tarmac and terminal space per aircraft, to be accommodated by closing some gates and expanding others.
These were smart moves for Delta because the hourly arrival capacity/hour at MSP is now 30% less than the MAC planned in 2010 because of CRO limits. FAA will be stiffening the CRO limits at MSP, according to a statement in NOC minutes (15 May meeting, July publication, approved without comment 17 July). The Tower, with MAC's tacit approval, has been experimenting with decreasing runway use intervals at MSP for years. The announced plan apparently reduces departures further to increase arrivals, but as we already new, arrival rates were usually smaller than the Delta connection-fleet banks and many flights are now scheduled well before 6 AM.
How smart it is for the Twin Cities metro economy, MSP overflight emissions effects and the MAC CIP and long-term growth depends on how much the new safety reality affects costs per passenger. There really should have been some public and open planning done since 2014 (when the MSP LTCP Update for 2015-2025 was due. Facility planning is supposed to be based (Minnesota Law) on metro Twin Cities economic growth over time (demographics, business and industry, etc.). Operational safety risks, passenger accommodation budgets, economic forecasts and other long-term planning needs are more important than noise exposure maps. it is foolish for the 6 cities represented on the NOC to attempt negotiate runway use rates hour-by-hour with the User representatives.
Do you like this post?