MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Despite more airplane traffic, flight delays are not expected to increase in the next 10 years at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The airport is expected to avoid an increase in delays with the completion of a new runway in 2003, improvements in the guidance systems for pilots and air-traffic controllers and changing flight procedures, the FAA said in a study that compared 31 major U.S. airports.
The report showed that last year slightly more than 1 percent of flights at Minneapolis-St. Paul were delayed more than 15 minutes. However, the figure only included planes that left the gate. It did not count flight cancelations, diversions or delays caused by baggage handling or other airline functions.
Peter Challan, the FAA's deputy associate administrator for air traffic services, said during a news conference Wednesday that the Twin Cities and its main airport are "an exemplary airport and community. They've done a lot to handle capacity."
The FAA said that Minneapolis-St. Paul ranked better last year than 16 of 31 airports in the rate of delays exceeding 15 minutes. The Twin Cities had 12.7 such delays per 1,000 takeoffs and landings, compared with 17.6 in Detroit, 63.3 at O'Hare in Chicago and 155.9 -- the highest -- at LaGuardia in New York.
The lowest rates included 0 in Honolulu, 0.4 in Memphis and 1.6 in Tampa, Fla.
Jeff Hamiel, executive director of the Metropolitan Airports Commission, said the report supports what he has been told by FAA Administrator Jane Garvey.
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