Plans in place to keep MSP Airport running smoothly during incoming snow storm

Workers at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport are preparing for a big snow storm on Friday. (FOX 9)

Clear runways, a blue sky - it’s the perfect day to fly.  But that’s about to change. Snow is on the way and lots of it. About 6-10 inches is expected to hit much of Minnesota.

“From our department, it’s safety - and then efficiency is second - but safety is number one,” said Jeff Mattson, the duty manager for the Airside Operations Department at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Tucked away into Concourse E at MSP is an office for the Airside Operations Department, which is a major player in keeping runways running during the snow.

“We are the hub for the airport as far as coordination,” said Mattson. “We don’t do the actual plowing, but we do the coordination with the maintenance airlines and FAA.”

The coordination effort is in full swing already with conference calls and plans to be fully staffed Friday. There will be 10 people in the office and more than 130 workers in the Field Maintenance Department.

“It’s not always about plowing,” said Mattson. “It’s about making sure everyone’s on the same page.”

They’re already planning for about half of the runways to be closed, which means fewer planes taking off and landing.

“In an event like this with the wind so strong, we’re only probably going to be on the parallels two runways, even though we have four available,” he said.

This isn’t their first go-around, and travelers should know their flights are in the hands of snow pros.

“I think of it as if my family’s on the plane,” said Mattson. “I want them to be safe and safety is our number one priority; we’re not going to put someone in an unsafe situation.”