LONDONDERRY — The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, partially located in Londonderry, will reap benefits from more than $4.5 million in federal funding to support renovation projects and equipment purchases.
U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) and Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), along with U.S Representatives Annie Kuster and Chris Pappas, announced the $4,556,533 in funding for the airport earlier this week, awarded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
The money will be split with $2,107,706 going towards two taxiway rehabilitation projects at the airport and another $2,448,827 allocated to help buy critical equipment needed for snow removal and airport safety and security.
The grants are awarded through the Airport Improvement Program (AIP).
“As the busiest airport in New Hampshire, Manchester serves as a gateway to the Granite State for travelers visiting each year, which totaled 1.8 million people in 2018," Shaheen said. "This grant for the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport will help repair critical airport infrastructure, prepare for winter conditions and ensure the safety and security of passengers, property and equipment."
Shaheen added that making sure regional transportation centers have funding and support is critical to growing New Hampshire's economy.
Hassan said tourism is one of the Granite State's largest industries and it's essential to enhance the safety and security of the airport, serving as a critical transportation hub.
“I am pleased to announce that Manchester-Boston Regional Airport will receive over 4.5 million in federal dollars to improve their infrastructure and ensure the highest-quality experience for their customers," she said.
About 80% of the airport lies in Londonderry and the facility is a huge economic driver for the town, according to Londonderry Town Manager Kevin Smith.
"It's really the gateway to New Hampshire when folks are coming in from out of town," Smith said.
He added that anyone wanting to get to the airport from any direction passes through parts of Londonderry.
"Even taking the back roads, in some shape or form," he said.
Both Kuster and Pappas said investing in the state's largest airport is critical to continuing to support tourism and what it means for the state's economy.
"This funding will help make various updates to the airport’s infrastructure and increase passenger safety, improving the overall travel experience for people utilizing (the airport)," Kuster said.
Airport director Ted Kitchens said the federal support will help the airport continue to provide the best service to its customers.
“On behalf of the airport staff, I would like to thank our federal delegation and the Federal Aviation Administration for their partnership and continuing support of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport,” Kitchens said. “In a region experiencing rapid economic growth, the airport provides a critical link between our community and the global economy."
Earlier this year, Kitchens spoke at a transportation forum in Derry, saying the airport has faced challenges, including trying to tackle the reasons more people aren't flying from the New Hampshire hub to other destinations.
Major carriers now are JetBlue, American, Delta and Southwest. Last month, American unveiled its first flight from Manchester to Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
Smith said the airport not only provides the gateway to the state and beyond, but it draws on the success of surrounding development in the area, with major industries finding homes near the facility in past years.
"Hopefully, there will be new development in the years to come," Smith said, adding that may include a focus on more hospitality-based businesses.