Delta Air Lines said Monday that it will restart its nonstop flight from Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport to Amsterdam later next month, the first long-haul international flight at MSP since the start of the pandemic in March.
The Atlanta-based airline said it will resume the popular nonstop route four times a week beginning Oct. 25.
MSP lost all transoceanic flights in the spring when the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus closed international borders. Many countries, including the United States and the Netherlands, imposed travel bans.
The move by Delta to reinstate the long-haul flight from MSP comes weeks after the U.S. government said it plans to end its enhanced health screenings of passengers.
Since March, all incoming international flights from high-risk countries — including most of Europe, China, Brazil and others — have been funneled through just 15 U.S. airports designated to perform the screenings, leaving MSP out.
It’s unclear who will be booking seats on the reinstated flight as the Netherlands and much of Europe still ban the entry of foreigners, including Americans, without a 10-day self-quarantine.
The Netherlands, like other countries, has exceptions to the rule, including essential workers, journalists or those who can prove they offer a “demonstrable value” to the Dutch economy or society.
Delta has announced plans to reinstate its other long-haul international routes from MSP to Seoul, London, Paris and Tokyo beginning March 28, 2021.
Aer Lingus suspended its new nonstop route between MSP and Dublin, and Icelandair ended its route between MSP and Reykjavik. The fate of both routes remain uncertain.
“Resumption of transoceanic service is a significant milestone in our recovery from the impacts of COVID-19 and a tremendous boost for MSP and the Twin Cities region,” said Brian Ryks, CEO of the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), which operates MSP. “While obstacles such as national quarantines and limited demand will likely delay resumption of MSP’s full contingent of pre-COVID transoceanic service, the resumption of Amsterdam service is an important first step, ensuring that people in the region once again have direct access to Europe.”
This month, airlines are flying 130 routes with 288 average daily departures at MSP, compared to 508 daily departures at this same time a year ago. MSP officials expect daily departures will increase in October to 300.