BY: SCOTT JANKOWSKI
This past October I spent a beautiful Sunday Fall afternoon spotting at the primary observation area at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport. This viewing area is located at the end of Cargo Road and is adjacent to the intersections of Runways 12R-30L and 22-4. This centrally located viewing area is best for photography in the afternoon and evening hours as the sun will be at your back, but a word of caution heat haze can be an issue. There is ample parking available, a few picnic tables and benches to sit at, and of course great views of the F and G Concourses and Terminal 2. This viewing area also offers distant views of the action on the opposite side of the field and on Runways 12L-30R. You will need a small step ladder in order to shoot aircraft rolling out or taxiing by due to the security fencing in place.
Minneapolis International Airport is the 17th busiest airport in the United States and saw 25,202,120 total passengers using the airport in 2021. A total of 19 passenger airlines offer service to a total of 137 nonstop destinations with 19 of those routes being international. A total of 308,850 movements of all types were noted in 2021, with the majority being Delta, Delta Connection, and Sun Country which all have hubs at Minneapolis. Air Cargo is also a vital part of the activity at Minneapolis with approximately 6 airlines carrying over 239,247 metric tons of cargo in and out. Signature Flight Support is the primary FBO (Fixed Base Operator) at Minneapolis and has a very sizeable operation that handles business, charter and transient military traffic in and out. The U.S. Military has a pair of Lockheed C-130 units at the Minneapolis Airport as well. These units include the 133d Airlift Wing which is part of the Minnesota Air National Guard. Also based at the airport is the U.S. Air Force Reserve’s 934th AW (Airlift Wing) better known by their nickname of “Flying Vikings”.
Please note the C-130 images are file images.
Delta and Delta Connection Airlines make up a good portion of the daily movements with a mix of Airbus, Boeing, Embraer, and Mitsubishi narrow and wide body aircraft.
Sun Country Airlines which is based at the Minneapolis Airport has a sizeable operation as well with both passenger and cargo Boeing 737-800’s. These aircraft are flown in a variety of color schemes in both passenger and cargo configuration.
Several other airlines also serve Minneapolis and include Allegiant, American, Frontier, JetBlue, KLM, Southwest, and United with a variety of Airbus and Boeing types as well.
Minneapolis see’s an average of 832 aircraft movements a day with a great mix of all types of aircraft. Minneapolis is a very photographer friendly airport coupled with the traffic mix makes it worthy of a visit. Until next time, “Blue Skies to All!”