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South Metro Airport Action Council
** S M A A C **

August 21, 2009

Watchdog Group President Comments on MSP Runway Closure

The South Metro Airport Action Council continues to advocate for quieter and safer neighborhoods around the Minneapolis-St. Paul (MSP) airport. The newest issue for residents began mid-August 2009. Work on the North Parallel Runway (R12R-30L) is re-routing more and new flights over residential neighborhoods.  More residents and businesses are exposed to unnecessary health, environmental and safety risks -- without having any meaningful opportunity to propose alternatives in advance.
Citizens are being asked to send SMAAC a log of noisy overflights and to report travel difficulties during the project by flyers being passed out at public meetings.  SMAAC expects a membership increase as people experience overflights and travel difficulties.  The campaign is also waged through the internet: http://quiettheskies.org.

Delta/Northwest dominates MSP, but has been slow to de-peak its hub during the runway project.  A similar project in 2007 resulted in many delays and problems, which were laid off on weather rather than poor planning.  Estimates of delays this year ranged from 2 to 4 times normal, and weather is variable this time of year in Minnesota.  The project is expected to keep safe capacity limited at MSP through October.

Elected officials are scrambling to disavow any connection with the project, which could not only congest and disrupt airport operations but also result in a  bad accident or passengers held on airliners for hours.  Already, a Continental flight diverted from MSP to nearby Rochester had its 47 passengers sitting overnight -- without food or toilets --on the tarmac there waiting for a fresh crew.  Continental was unable to arrange ground transportation or terminal access through Delta Airlines, which provides arrival services for " visiting" aircraft as a contractor to the Rochester airport authority.
--
Jim Spensley
Minneapolis

 
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