Just under 2 million total passengers passed through the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) in 2017. The airport’s number of passengers has declined since the mid to late 2000’s, before low cost carriers began serving Logan International Airport in Boston, but the passenger count has leveled out over the last several years.
Tom Malafronte, Interim Director for the airport, is actively engaged in air service development to grow MHT. “We have to demonstrate through support of our local carriers that there is sufficient demand to warrant additional service,” said Malafronte. “It is often a long and arduous process to match the community’s interests with the appropriate business strategy of individual airlines.”
Challenges facing the airline industry in general have had an impact on the airport. Industry consolidation, capacity discipline, volatile fuel costs, fleet evolution, and a pilot shortage have driven dramatic changes in the market.
For 2018 and beyond Malafronte foresees a more stable market, and he believes MHT is poised for future growth. The airport is served by the top four carriers in the country – Southwest, American, Delta, and United – which, combined, provide more than 80% of all available domestic seats. In the first half of 2018 three of the four airlines have added seats in Manchester, and all of the airlines have increased aircraft gauge or are planning to do so.
Malafronte emphasizes that the tourism industry has an important role to play in the airport’s success – and vice versa – by creating more demand for New Hampshire as a destination. He said, “We continue to aggressively pursue new and improved air service for our region and remain confident that – with the help of the community – our air service options will continue to improve.”