Skip to main content

Passenger numbers fell 62% at MSP Airport in 2020

The Twin Cities airport was slammed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a drastic reduction in passengers flying through Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport in 2020.

The Metropolitan Airport Commission on Friday confirmed that 14.9 million passengers passed through the Twin Cities airport in 2020, a 62% reduction on the record 39.5 million who used the airport in 2019.

Air travel plummeted as countries shut their borders and many Americans chose to stay home rather than risk spreading the virus.

Some 38.5% of the total traffic through MSP happened in January and February, before the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Minnesota.

These months saw 2.9 million and 2.85 million passengers respectively, but this dropped to 1.78 million in March and then just 150,000 in April, when Minnesota was under a Stay at Home order.

Things started picking back up toward the end of summer, with more than 1 million passengers passing through the airport each month from August to December. However, this remained about a third of typical traffic.

The airport saw 244,911 takeoffs and landings in 2020, compared to 406,076 in 2019 as airlines slashed routes, with some planes dropping as low as 10% of occupied seats at some points during the pandemic, and haven't since recovered above 60%.

"We experienced the largest drop in air travel demand in aviation history in 2020. It will take years to recover,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the MAC.

"December 2020 brought some of the busiest travel days since the pandemic began, but still far below normal. We hope to see a significant increase in demand in the latter half of 2021, particularly in leisure travel, as the COVID-19 vaccination program moves forward. It will likely take longer to see meaningful recovery in the business and international travel sectors."

Delta remained the most popular airline through MSP, with 68.8% of the passenger share, followed by Sun Country, American, Southwest, and United.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 6.44.11 PM

Standoff in Prior Lake: Man assaulted officer, broke into home

The suspect allegedly assault an officer outside Kwik Trip, fled and broke into a home.

snow - 12-10-21 - Joe Nelson - 5

Accumulating snow possible in Twin Cities next week

The storm system could arrive in the Tuesday-Wednesday timeframe.

Target store snow

With Black Friday barely underway, Target reveals Cyber Monday deals

Plans for the two-day sale were revealed Friday morning.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.37.25 AM

Man waves replica assault weapon at drivers in downtown Minneapolis

The alarming incident was spotted by the new MPD chief, Brian O'Hara.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 9.29.58 AM

Extremely drunk driver arrested in Chaska

The driver was more than four times the legal limit.

Screen Shot 2022-11-25 at 8.21.21 AM

Stillwater police looking for suspect who stole vehicle with 1-year-old inside

The suspect abandoned the vehicle with the child still inside just 5 minutes after the theft.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 5.01.34 PM

Suspected Bloomington restaurant killer arrested in Oklahoma

The 47-year-old Texas man was arrested around 12:30 a.m. Thursday.

Screen Shot 2022-11-24 at 9.16.39 AM

Minnetonka woman, 23, ID'd as victim killed in Minneapolis crash

The fatal crash happened near the Minneapolis Convention Center on Nov. 21.


More than 100 geese, ducks found dead on partially frozen MN lake

The discovery was made in Waseca at the weekend.


After losing sponsor, advocates fear Minneapolis' Nice Ride could shut down

They are calling on the city to provide financial support till a new sponsor is found.

Screen Shot 2022-11-23 at 3.32.46 PM

Colleen Lindstrom announces departure from MyTalk radio show

Lindstrom's last broadcast on the long-running show will be Dec. 9.


MSP Airport had a record number of passengers in 2018

It just beat the previous record, set in 2017.

unnamed (1)

Record passenger numbers at Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport in 2019

The airport has passed 39 million passengers for the first time.

Screen Shot 2019-03-07 at 1.48.54 PM

MSP Airport named best in North America for 4th year in a row

The Twin Cities airport is the best for its size in the U.S.


Delta posts massive $5.7 billion loss, makes significant cuts to its workforce

The airline has taken a massive hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.

MSP Airport

MSP operator expects $120M federal support after historic drop in traffic

Flights and passenger numbers have plunged at the Twin Cities Airport.

Mask plane

MSP Airport, major airlines drop mask mandate after court ruling

Wearing a face mask will be optional in airports and planes.