Published in Midwest Flyer Magazine (online) – December 2020/January 2021
MINNEAPOLIS, MINN. – A major runway extension and other airfield improvements have been completed at Crystal Airport (KMIC), in the northwest metro area of Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, which will benefit pilots and aviation stakeholders for years to come. The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) which owns and operates Crystal and five other reliever airports, and Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (KMSP), invested nearly $7 million in 2020, primarily to transform the airfield for safer and more efficient operations.
The key project involved converting the airport’s existing two parallel runways into a single primary runway and a new taxiway. One parallel runway was extended to 3,750 feet, to become the new Runway 14/32. The other parallel runway (formerly 14R/32L) now serves as a full-length, lighted taxiway.
Other airfield safety improvements included reducing the length of the airport’s turf runway (06R/24L) to 1,669 feet. Additional taxiways and runway connectors around the airport were also added, altered, and realigned to enhance accessibility. New engine run-up pads were also installed. The airfield now has lighted signs, and a new perimeter road was built to allow vehicles to circulate the airport without having to cross runways.
“The improvements at Crystal Airport are transformational and will certainly raise the airport’s profile,” said Joe Harris, MAC Director of Reliever Airports. “The improved geometry of the airfield, the additional runway length and improved navaids are investments in easier and safer operations,” said Harris.
In July, MAC opened a new self-service fuel system at Crystal, with sales already exceeding expectations.
In 2019, there were 41,541 takeoffs and landings at Crystal, making it the third busiest airport among MAC’s six reliever airports. Crystal has more than 160 based aircraft and serves businesses, such as flight training, aircraft rental, air charter, aircraft and propeller maintenance, aircraft parts, and medical flight operations. Among the businesses located at Crystal Airport are Maxwell Aircraft Propeller Service, Thunderbird Aviation and Wentworth Aircraft (MetroAirports.org).
Phase 2 of Lake Elmo Airport Improvements Underway
LAKE ELMO, MINN. – Upon the completion of the Lake Elmo Long-Term Comprehensive Plan (LTCP) in 2016 and a joint Environmental Assessment/Environmental Assessment Worksheet (EA/EAW) in 2018, construction of Lake Elmo Airport (21D) improvements began in late 2019.
The improvements at Lake Elmo Airport include the following elements:
• Relocate and extend Runway 14/32 to 3,500 feet.
• Realign 30th Street North around the relocated runway protection zone and reconnect to the existing intersection with Neal Avenue.
• Construct a new cross-field taxiway to serve the new Runway 14 end.
• Convert the existing runway to a parallel taxiway and construct other taxiways as needed to support the relocated runway.
• Reconstruct and extend crosswind Runway 4/22 to 2,750 feet.
• Upgrade instrument approach to use newer technology.
The construction activity is divided into three phases:
• Phase 1: Realign 30th Street North between Manning Avenue and Neal Avenue (November 2019 through July 2020).
• Phase 2: Construction of new Runway 14/32 and grading for taxiways, electrical work (Fall 2020 through Summer 2021).
• Phase 3: Completion of new Runway 14/32 and taxiways and convert existing runway to parallel taxiway, completion of electrical work, construction of a new service road (Fall 2021 through Summer 2022). Note: This phase may be split into two separate phases.
Lake Elmo Airport is one of six reliever airports to Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and is owned and operated by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC). The other reliever airports include St. Paul Downtown, Flying Cloud, Anoka County-Blaine, Crystal, and Airlake (MetroAirports.org).