MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester-Boston Regional Airport (MHT) has a new partner in their quest to enhance New Hampshire’s local economy and the Granite State’s standing among air travelers everywhere.
On Wednesday, the New Hampshire Commerce Corridor (NHCC), a coalition of seven southern New Hampshire chambers of commerce, announced the formation of the Air Service Support and Enhancement Team or ASSET.
This new 501(c)3 organization seeks to expand upon coordination between MHT and NHCC in recent years to attract new airlines to the airport, building upon groundwork efforts that recently helped make Spirit Airlines the first new airline to come to MHT in 20 years.
“(MHT) is the key economic driver of New Hampshire’s economy. Simply put, more flights and passengers out of MHT means more jobs, business growth, and economic output in New Hampshire,” said Mike Skelton, CEO and President of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce. “By forming ASSET, our regional business community is taking a new and direct role in partnering with the airport to expand air service options. Flying MHT isn’t just a great travel option, it also helps grow our economy and improve our state’s quality of life.”
According to Skelton, ASSET will serve as a formalized support network to aid MHT in bringing new activity and funding to the airport and by extension, the New Hampshire economy as a whole. He added that while ASSET currently includes only the seven chambers within the NHCC, it would welcome other chambers, business-related organizations or corporate partners seeking to attract new commercial and cargo air partners to MHT.
One of the key tasks for the new group is preventing “leakage” of New Hampshire air travels to Logan International Airport in Boston.
According to information presented by members of the NHCC on Wednesday, if half of southern New Hampshire air travelers used MHT rather than Logan, it would create 640 new jobs in the Manchester area, open MHT to $5.6 million in new Federal Aviation Administration grants and millions of new revenue for local businesses and governments.
MHT Director Ted Kitchens, A.A.E. said that it is common for many airports elsewhere in the U.S. to have groups comparable to ASSET and alluded to this as another step to bring more airlines to MHT along with other recent efforts such as the airport’s debt restructuring.
“Communities across the country are vying for the same air service,” said Kitchens. “For far too long, the airport has not had a partner by our side and that put us at a disadvantage at the air service development table. The creation of ASSET puts the airport on a more level playing field with other communities and represents a critical tool in our air service development toolbox.”