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Adapted from a Metro Airports Commission report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Air travel was up over the holidays, but MSP officials project it will be years before the airport's passenger load returns to pre-pandemic levels.

By the numbers: Total passenger traffic plummeted to 14.9 million in 2020, down 62% from 2019, the Metropolitan Airports Commission said Friday.

  • Passenger totals are expected to be down 30% this year, per the commission's budget forecast.

✈️ What it means for you: Fewer options, as airlines slash routes to cut losses.

  • "Pre-pandemic, Delta had 15 flights a day from Minneapolis to Chicago, basically choose any hour," Thrifty Traveler executive editor Kyle Potter told Axios. "Now, it’s four flights a day max."

This story first appeared in the Axios Twin Cities newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.

Go deeper

Helicopters swarmed South Minneapolis to crack down on carjackings

A helicopter over Minneapolis in May 2020. Photo: Shay Horse/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The high volume of helicopter traffic over South Minneapolis last week was part of a "coordinated, targeted, and multi-jurisdictional operation ... to crackdown on carjackings," the Minneapolis Police Department confirms.

Why it matters: The frequency of flights sparked complaints from residents, who say the choppers are an unwelcome reminder of the trauma the neighborhood experienced following George Floyd's killing.

Minnesota takes another shot at legal pot

Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

A push to legalize marijuana for recreational use in Minnesota is back.

What's happening: DFL state legislators will introduce "adult-use cannabis legislation" today.

Updated 28 mins ago - Health

California surpasses 50,000 COVID-19 deaths

A man prepares a funeral arrangement in in Los Angeles, California, Feb. 12. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

California's death toll from COVID-19 surpassed 50,000 on Wednesday, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: It's the first state to record more than 50,000 deaths from the coronavirus.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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