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Delta's big MSP plans: New planes, a nonstop trip to Asia and more

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The CEO of Delta made a stop in Minneapolis Tuesday, dropping hints and promises about what plans the airline has for its presence in Minnesota.

Expect that presence to get bigger, not smaller.

MPR News reports Richard Anderson said the Atlanta-based airline plans to upgrade its fleet of jets, from smaller regional aircraft to ones that can hold more people. The move would increase the number of available seats by 8 percent, he said.

As for where those new planes might be going, Asia appears to be on the radar.

According to the Star Tribune, Anderson said Delta is considering a nonstop flight to Asia in the future, but did not specify a final destination. The paper says airport officials, plus local business players and politicians, are hoping for China – a country currently accessible from Minnesota only by stopping at another airport first.

Separately this week, the company announced expanded seasonal flight options from MSP to the Caribbean.

In August, Delta announced plans to hire 1,800 additional flight attendants over the next 12 months, in anticipation of expected growth in 2015. The company also rolled out new, free entertainment options for passengers on all flights that are 90 minutes or longer.

Anderson, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports, called the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport the best-run on the planet during his Tuesday visit. The site says he was also greeted by protestors who got into the room where he was speaking, who demanded better wages. Anderson reportedly made $14.4 million last year.

Airport additions

Metropolitan Airports Commission Chief Executive Jeff Hamiel also spoke about the future of MSP Airport.

The Pioneer Press outlined a list of planned upgrades to the airport, introduced by Hamie on Tuesday. Among them: additional gates and parking ramps, more efficient security and an airport hotel. There's also the possibility of a viewing area by 2015, the paper reports, where the public can watch planes take off and land.

Meanwhile the Minnesota Wild are opening a team-themed restaurant in Terminal 2, the organization announced Tuesday. The restaurant – called The Wild – will seat more than 200 customers, and will not shy away from its hockey influence. (See a concept design below.)

According to the release, large HD TVs and hockey memorabilia will dominate the walls, the menus will be shaped like the blade of a hockey stick, and donated broken hockey sticks will make up part of the bar. Anyone interested in having a broken stick be part of the bar creation can bring one to hockey equipment retailer Total Hockey. In return, you'll get a $20 credit towards the purchase of a new stick.

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