MANCHESTER, N.H. – On Tuesday, U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) travelled back to Washington out of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) and thanked airport employees along the way for their efforts to keep the airport running during the pandemic. In return, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport Director Ted Kitchens thanked Pappas for his work to help pass the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will provide additional funding for the airport.
Although the exact amount that the airport will receive remains unknown, the current estimate is $22 million over the next five years, with the bill providing $25 billion to airports across the country.
Pappas praised the dedication of the airport’s staff and its convenience and service to travelers, which he believes is a key reason why Spirit Airlines decided to open routes at the airport earlier this year. He also noted that continuing investment will be needed to ensure the airport’s future.
“There’s a lot of transition happening right now in aviation and airports are facing significant headwinds when it comes to the economy,” said Pappas. “That’s why investment in our infrastructure couldn’t be more crucial at this juncture.”
Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig also was grateful for the funding as well as the hard work of the airport’s staff, citing the economic importance of the airport for the city and New Hampshire as a whole, particularly thanking Kitchens for his work in refinancing the airport’s debts to entice airlines to come to the airport.
Craig also noted the importance of encouraging flyers to use Manchester-Boston Regional Airport over other nearby airports in neighboring states.
“What we see is people flying into Manchester is they stay here and spend there money here, not just in Manchester, but throughout the state, so it’s critically important to attract people to fly here when the come to the state,” she said.
Kitchens echoed Craig’s sentiment regarding the importance of encouraging New Hampshire residents to fly out of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, noting that airport usage is a key factor in where federal funding is allocated for airports across the country, such as those run by Massport like Logan International Airport and Worcester International Airport.
“If we’re exporting demand to Massport, then they’re going to get our share of funds, despite the fact that its our economy increasing the demand for aviation,” he said. “We should work to make sure we keep those funds in the state.”
In addition to the economic importance of the airport, Kitchens also noted its importance in stemming the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state through its ability to help move large stockpiles of PPE into the Granite State among other things.
Local chambers of commerce recently created an organization to help the airport with that problem and support in attracting grant funding. The airport has also received several other federal grants this year, including $8.7 million earlier this month.