$12 flights aim to boost Lebanon airport traffic
"The phones are ringing off the hook, as you'd expect with $12 to Manhattan," airport manager Rick Dyment said.
The airport was on track to enplane more than 10,000 passengers by the end of 2012, when Hurricane Sandy stopped all flight to New York for eight consecutive days, said Andrew Bonney, Cape Air vice president of planning.
At under 10,000 passengers per year, the airport qualifies for $150,000 in funding from the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Program.
Topping 10,000 means it would qualify for $1 million the airport can use for runaway paving and other safety improvements.
When Cape Air signed on as the city airport's service carrier in 2008, it made a commitment to increase the number of passengers flying out of the airport, Bonney said.
Since then, passenger ridership at the airport has increased 10 percent annually, and this year was higher than it has been in more than 10 years, he said.
Hurricane Sandy put a temporary stop to that growth, Bonney said.
Last week, the airport was on track to miss the 10,000 threshold by 41 passengers, he said.
Cape Air announced Wednesday it was offering $12 trips each way to Boston and White Plains, N.Y., and increased flights to both - 44 percent more flights to Boston and 72 percent more flights into New York for the remaining five days of the month.
That's $24 round trip.
Typically, the cost for a round-trip flight before taxes to Boston is $65 and $120 to New York.
Despite Cape Air having to cancel flights on Thursday because of the snowstorm, the numbers are looking good since Cape Air added extra flights for the last week of the year, he said.
Lebanon City Airport provides one-stop airline service to 72 domestic destinations and 29 international destinations. Cape Air provides daily flights from the Lebanon Airport to Boston Logan International Airport or to Westchester County White Plains Airport with complimentary limo service to Manhattan.
One of the Lebanon City Council goals was to start service from Lebanon City Airport to New York, Bonney said.
Since LaGuardia and JFK are so congested, Cape Air began service in 2010 to the Westchester County Airport and offers the limo service as part of the trip. And because passengers are flying in and out of small airports, there is no security check, Bonney said.
Reservations for travel between Lebanon and Boston or New York can be made by calling: 866-227-3247 or 800-CAPE-AIR or by booking online at capeair.com.