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Kitchens provides a positive report for MHT

A slide from Tuesday’s presentation

MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) manager Ted Kitchens presented a positive image to members of the Mayor’s Council and the Manchester Aldermen’s Special Committee on airport operations on Tuesday night, sharing figures which show a marked rebound since the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kitchens told the committee that MHT was seeing about as many passengers as in 2019, but with fewer flights, largely due to the use of the largest planes seen at the airport since 2006, particularly from Spirit Airlines on flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale. He added that Spirit’s routes from Manchester to Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Fort Myers and Myrtle Beach represented a clear investment in the New Hampshire market by Spirit. Currently, takeover talks are underway by JetBlue and Frontier Airlines to take over Spirit; Kitchens said he preferred one of the potential takeover candidates over the other, but did not specify which and said he would work with either carrier.

Spirit isn’t the only carrier extending service to MHT, Kitchens also noted that American Airlines has renewed twice-daily service to O’Hare and renewed service to Charlotte for the first time since 2017 in addition to its current flights to Dulles-Washington and Philadelphia. . United is also adding a third daily flight to Newark.

Kitchens said the ratio of visitors entering New Hampshire to New Hampshire residents traveling elsewhere is increasing, a fact that will provide tourism revenue to local businesses and speaks to New Hampshire’s growing tourist appeal.

“I think you see (the ratio change) because of what New Hampshire has to offer,” he said. “Our wide open spaces and our outdoor recreational activities and the offering of something new.”

Financially, the airport has benefited from federal assistance in the form of CARES Act funds, CRSSA funds and ARPA funds, with Kitchens also stating that the airport’s debt restructuring undertaken before the pandemic has helped the airport. airport weathered the proverbial storm, although literal storms during the winter months created greater than expected snow mitigation costs.

Beyond the new and expanded routes, Kitchens also provided the committee with a series of upcoming and ongoing improvements to the airport.

Two new traffic lanes are expected to be completed in early August. Runway 17-35, which runs along the peripheral road, will be repaved and improved starting next spring. Additionally, improvements to airport parking facilities will begin rolling out in July. Reserved parking spaces will be able to be purchased in advance through various methods and indicators will be added to garages to indicate the number of spaces available at each garage level. Valet parking is also expected to be added at a later date.