Are Aircraft Departing South from MSP Supposed to Remain South of Highway 110?

Some aircraft departing from Runways 12L and 12R at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) are directed by Air Traffic Controllers (ATC) to fly on specific headings that concentrate flights over the Eagan-Mendota Heights Corridor (Corridor) -- an industrial area adjacent to the Minnesota River Valley-- before turning on course to their destination.  The idea is to guide air carrier jet aircraft over less-populated areas, like areas located inside the corridor, while the aircraft is gaining altitude on its initial climb. 

Many of the land use areas surrounding MSP are populated with residential neighborhoods. The Corridor and associated procedures were developed in the 1980s in an effort to minimize aircraft noise impacts for MSP's neighbors by departing aircraft over the unpopulated Corridor area.

While the Corridor is a defined geographical area that extends approximately three miles southeast of MSP (pictured below), air carrier jet pilots operating departing aircraft are not following ground references (e.g., freeways, roadways, water bodies, etc.) to navigate the aircraft. Rather, pilots are navigating their aircraft based on a procedure and compass heading that are assigned by ATC.  Generally speaking, the headings assigned by ATC are 090 degrees, 105 degrees or 120 degrees; at times it necessary to adjust these headings to correct for wind variables aloft.  

Departure flight tracks generated by aircraft flying through the Eagan-Mendota Heights Corridor at MSP

With average monthly compliance around 95%, use of the Corridor procedure reduces aircraft noise for many neighborhoods surrounding MSP. Rates of compliance with the Eagan-Mendota Heights Corridor procedures are reported monthly and can be found on the MAC Noise Program Office website. Click here: MSP Runway Use

More information about noise abatement efforts implemented at MSP can be found here: