ST. PAUL -- The Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport’s terminals keep getting busier.

There were 39,555,036 passengers that flew to or from the airport in 2019, the third year in a row a record was set. This past year’s figure is a 4 percent increase over 2018 and the first time MSP airport has surpassed 39 million, according to airport officials.

Much of that growth appears to be local travelers heading out of town.

“A strong economy along with new routes and increased airline competition continues to propel demand for air travel,” Metropolitan Airports Commission CEO Brian Ryks said in a prepared statement.

A few highlights the past year:

  • The airport’s hub carriers both saw their passenger numbers increase: Delta Air Lines and its affiliates carried 4 percent more passengers and Sun Country 22 percent more. Delta has a commanding share of the local market.

  • The number of travelers originated from MSP was 63 percent in 2019, an increase from 58 percent the year before. Meanwhile, those connecting between flights at MSP fell from 42 percent in 2018 to 37 percent last year.

  • Four airlines added 15 new routes from MSP in 2019, from Aer Lingus adding service to Dublin, Ireland, to Delta adding routes to Seoul, South Korea.

  • The top five airlines are Delta, with 71.2 percent of the passengers; Sun Country with 7.5 percent; American with 5.4 percent, Southwest with 4.8 percent and United with 4.2 percent.

While passenger numbers are up, the actual number of flights arriving or departing on the airport’s runways decreased last year. There were 406,675 landings and takeoffs in 2019, a 0.2 percent decrease from 2018.

“Airlines are flying less but carrying more passengers,” Ryks said. They do that by flying bigger planes, adding seats and filling them.

The increase in local travelers “continues to put pressure on front-of-house facilities,” he said. That includes tasks like baggage claim, ticketing, security screening. Long lines at the airport’s security checkpoints were among the worst in the nation in February of 2019 and in August the lines prompted an apology from the airport.

The airport is in the midst of a $1.6 billion remodel to address those concerns and make additional improvements. Highlights of the work include new gates at Terminal 2, a new 5,000-space parking ramp that will open in a few months and the expansion and renovation at Terminal 1.