There's nothing like a prolonged cold winter to drive Minnesotans to fly off anywhere that's warmer, and that has translated into a very busy spring break period at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.
Last Friday (March 23), the airport had its second busiest day ever with 50,681 passengers passing through security checkpoints. That was topped only by the 60,993 travelers who were screened on Feb. 5, the day after the Super Bowl, which was played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
Just a day before the airport topped the 50,000 mark, MSP recorded its third busiest day on record on March 22 when 47,705 passengers went through the checkpoints. That was one of five days that the number of passengers passing through security exceeded 45,000 during the spring break period, which the airport defines as Feb. 25 through April 7.
The airport set a record for the most passengers screened in a single week when 288,478 went through checkpoints between March 18 and March 24, airport officials said.
Over the past five weeks, the airport has screened 40,000 or more passengers in a single day 16 times and was anticipating four more days with crowds that size before the spring break travel season ends on April 7.
The average daily load during the spring break period has been 38,966. The slowest day at MSP is projected to be 30,909 on April 3. On average, 35,000 passengers pass through security each day, airport officials said.
Overall, the number of travelers originating a trip at MSP is up 3.7 percent over last year, said Patrick Hogan, an airport spokesman.
To keep up with demand, the Transportation Security Administration had employees forgo vacations and work overtime, Hogan said. He also mentioned that TSA is looking to hire permanent fulltime officers. To appy, go to www.usajobs.gov.