MAC Facts: Reduction in Aircraft Noise Exposure Around MSP in 2020

2020 MSP Actual Contour The 2020 aircraft noise analysis, conducted annually by the Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC), shows a decrease in aircraft noise exposure from flight activity at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP). This is due to the decrease in the number of aircraft flying into and out of MSP, a prominent factor to aircraft noise exposure. 2020 marked the largest reduction of air travel in aviation history as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The past year showed a 40 percent reduction in the number of aircraft operations at MSP, decreasing from 406,073 operations in 2019 to 244,877 operations in 2020. 

In 2020, 9 percent of operations occurred between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. This was a 49 percent reduction in the number of flights at night in 2020 compared to 2019. The FAA uses decibel day-night level (dB DNL) as a measure of aircraft noise around U.S. airports, a measurement that gives a higher noise weight to flights that occur during defined nighttime hours.

Reduced  flight and nighttime activity directly contributed to the reduction in noise exposure around MSP with 6,587 acres included in the 2020 60 dB DNL noise contour, a 41 percent decrease from 2019. Similarly, the 2020 65 dB DNL noise contour at 2,487 acres is a 43 percent decrease from 2019. 

The MSP Residential Noise Mitigation Program is the most comprehensive noise mitigation program at any airport in the United States. The program provides sound insulation for residences surrounding MSP in noise exposure areas of 60 dB DNL and greater, which is beyond the federal mitigation standard of 65 dB DNL. The program is funded entirely by MAC generated revenue from rents and fees paid by users of the airport.

MAC Yard Signs

Due to the reduction of the noise contour in 2020, no additional residences qualify for the MSP Residential Noise Mitigation Program. No homes lost eligibility due to the reduction in the 2020 contour, as there were no first- or second-year eligible homes as a result of the 2019 contour. The MAC will continue to implement the mitigation program for homes that remain eligible from previous years’ analyses. 

Since 1992, the MAC has spent more than $500 million on the MSP Residential Noise Mitigation Program. Through this investment, the MAC has provided mitigation to nearly 16,000 single-family homes, more than 3,300 multi-family units and 19 schools.

An overview of the history of contours at MSP is provided in the video at:

Visit the MAC Noise Program Office website to view the 2020 Annual Noise Contour Analysis or to view the MAC Noise Mitigation Program criteria: