Kitchens provides positive report for MHT

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A slide from Tuesday’s presentation

MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) Director Ted Kitchens presented a positive picture to members of the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen’s Special Committee on Airport Activities on Tuesday night, sharing figures that show a marked rebound since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kitchens told the committee that MHT is currently on track to see approximately as many passengers this summer as it saw in 2019, but with fewer flights, due in large part to the use of the largest airplanes 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 into 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 one and said he would work with either carrier.

Spirit isn’t the only carrier expanding service to MHT, Kitchens also noted that American Airlines has renewed twice daily service to O’Hare and service with larger aircraft heading to Charlotte for the first time since 2017 in addition to their current flights to Reagan-Washington and Philadelphia. United is also adding a third daily flight to Newark as well.

Kitchens said that the ratio of visitors coming into New Hampshire against New Hampshire residents traveling elsewhere is rising, a fact that will provide tourist revenue for local business and serves as a testament to New Hampshire’s growing tourist appeal.

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

Financially, the airport benefited from federal aid 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 helped the airport weather the proverbial storm, although literal storms during winter months created larger than expected snow mitigation costs.

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

A taxiway renovation is expected to be completed by early August. Runway 17-35, which runs along the length of Perimeter Road, will be repaved and upgraded beginning next spring. Also, improvements to the airport’s parking facilities will begin to be rolled out in July. Reserved parking spaces will be able to be purchased in advance through a variety of methods and indicators will be added to garages to show how many spaces are available on each garage level. Valet parking is also expected to be added at a later date.

About this Author

andrewsylvia

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.