LONDONDERRY — After many months of pandemic challenges and uncertainty of what lies ahead, the director of the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport said there is good news to celebrate, including the arrival of Spirit Airlines.
Director Ted Kitchens met with the local Town Council last month to present an update on the status of operations at the airport. (A portion of the airport is in Londonderry.)
Kitchens noted that since February the airport’s recovery has improved substantially with vaccinations and more customer confidence about flying.
“We have entered Phase IV of the recovery,” Kitchens stated in a presentation. “We anticipate this phase to continue until we reach 100 percent pre-pandemic passenger activity levels.”
Kitchens said the airport also received federal coronavirus relief aid. He heralded the arrival of Spirit Airlines flights, set to begin this month.
Spirit will provide four nonstop flights every day to Florida at affordable prices, Kitchens said, adding these flights will help the airport expand its options. According to information on the airport’s website, Spirit will offer daily flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, beginning Oct. 7, and flights four times weekly to Fort Myers beginning Nov. 17 and three times weekly to Tampa beginning Nov. 18.
“(Spirit) has the youngest fleet in the sky,” Kitchens said. “It’s new service to more popular destinations.”
The director gave updates on capital projects including work being done as part of the elevator and escalator maintenance project, with new escalators installed to be reversible and the project completion date set for March 2022.
Other projects underway include a fire alarm replacement project.
A plan for a new hangar will put that facility 100 percent in Londonderry, Kitchens said.
Kitchens said there are three main projects in the airport’s capital-projects planning for next year and those include reconstruction of Runway 17-35 with a cost estimate of $15 million; Perimeter Road reconstruction as part of that runway project to fix drainage and grading issues; and work to address Taxiway Alpha retaining wall drainage issues.