McDonald's to make triumphant return to MSP

THOMAS LEE | Updated 5/14/2013

McDonald's is expected to return to the Minneapolis airport by late summer following a one-year absence.


Associated Press

Big Mac lovers rejoice: the light from the Golden Arches will once again beam upon Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission (MAC) said Monday that McDonald’s will return to the airport by the end of the summer with a new location near the intersection of Concourse C and D in Terminal 1.

In December 2011, two McDonald’s outlets were shut down at Concourse G after Delta Air Lines decided not to renew the company’s lease. At the time, Delta officials said McDonald’s simply didn’t fit the new vision for Concourse G, which the airline controls.

In their place are trendy new eateries like Custom Burgers and Tagliare, which serves Sicilian pizza. The moves were part of an effort by Delta and its new concession partner to bring a more polished dining experience to the airport.

But the move upset many travelers, who complained about the lack of low-cost dining options in the busy concourse. The airport eventually signed Chick-fil-A, but travelers continued to pine for the Golden Arches. Chick-fil-A also attracted controversy because of the company’s support of conservative causes, including opposition to gay marriage.

“There was a lot of public interest in bringing back McDonald’s,” said MAC spokesman Patrick Hogan. “It was one of the top complaints we have had from travelers.”

Initially, the airport offered McDonald’s locations outside of Concourse G, but none was acceptable to the company.

Since Delta did not control the space at Concourse C and D, the airport and McDonald’s were able to ultimately reach an agreement, Hogan said.

“It wasn’t up to Delta this time,” Hogan said. “It gave us flexibility to forge a deal.”

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has struggled to find its place in a major airport. The San Diego International Airport removed McDonald’s after it was not included in plans that aim to bring on more local brands. The San Jose, Calif., international airport got rid of its McDonald’s three years ago when it switched to a healthier, local fare.