BLOOMINGTON, Minn. (FOX 9) - As travel projections forecast an increase in flights this month at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, airport leaders are rolling out additional safety measures for travelers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July, the average of daily aircraft departures at MSP is expected to rise to 233, an increase from a daily average of 138 departures in June. Compared to last year, numbers are down significantly. In July 2019 the daily average was 554 departures.
The low at MSP came on April 14, where the airport saw 87,000 passengers on a day they would normally be over 2 million. The airport is now back up to about 500,000 a day now. It’s up, but still way down.
"We’ve seen a very slow build from there and now it’s about an 80 to 82 percent reduction," said Brian Ryks, the CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
The Metropolitan Airports Commission is launching its "Travel Confidently" program for MSP. Employees are required to wear face masks or coverings in public spaces. While travelers aren't required to wear masks, it is strongly encouraged.
Staff have increased cleaning in public areas and commonly touched surfaces. In June, workers started overnight electrostatic disinfectant fogging in public areas in both terminals.
About 50 hand sanitizer stations have been installed throughout the airport and more will be added as travel increases. Shield guards are up at ticket counters, gate desks, information booths and other areas. Shops and restaurants are also following social distancing guidelines. Travelers are encouraged to pre-book parking to allow for touchless entry and exit at the parking ramps.
Delta is emphasizing they still only allow 60 percent capacity and will add planes, not seats, as demand increases.
"We are pulling planes out of the desert as we speak and our strategy is as we see those planes get full, closer to 60 percent, we’re strategically putting more aircraft on the markets that need it," said Delta Vice President Ben Humphrey.