Cape Air Lands New Contract in Lebanon

  • Cape Air Captain Mike Pfieffer prepares for takeoff at Lebanon Airport in West Lebanon, N.H., on Wednesday, September 21, 2016. Lebanon Airport was working to increase its total number of passengers in hopes of qualifying for a federal grant. (Valley News - John Happel) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Monday, September 24, 2018

West Lebanon — The commercial airline that provides service to Lebanon Municipal Airport has won a four-year extension of the federal contract that helps subsidize its operations there.

Cape Air said in a news release on Monday that the U.S. Department of Transportation has extended its “essential air service” contract from Dec. 1 through November 2022.

“We are excited to continue our positive relationship with the Lebanon Municipal Airport and surrounding community,” Cape Air President Linda Markham said in the release. “We take pride in acting as an economic driver for the Lebanon area, and are pleased to continue connecting this community with Boston, New York, and beyond through the major carriers flying out of Boston.”

Cape Air offers four daily, nonstop, roundtrip flights to Boston’s Logan International Airport and two daily flights to and from Westchester County Airport in suburban New York. As part of that service, passengers can take ground transportation to Manhattan.

Cape Air has been flying out of the Lebanon airport for 10 years, and last year tallied 10,249 “enplanements,” or passengers departing Lebanon on its aircraft.

So far this year through August, Cape Air had 6,588 enplanements from Lebanon, 110 more than the same time period in 2017, according to Airport Manager Rick Dyment. He said enplanements in this time period had been consistent for the past four years.

The essential air service subsidy to Cape Air totals $3.6 million, including $2.1 million for the Boston flights and just under $1.5 million for the New York flights.

Dyment noted that 40 percent of the EAS program is funded by aviation user fees, notably planes that fly over, but do not land or take off in the United States. The other 60 percent comes from the Aviation Trust Fund, which includes fees on passenger tickets, airline jet fuel and gas, and fees on domestic cargo and mail.

Dyment said Cape Air’s service links the Upper Valley to Manhattan in 2½ hours, door-to-door, and noted that the airline has added to full-time mechanic in Lebanon and improved codesharing with major airlines.

“The Lebanon Airport will continue to work together with Cape Air to optimize Cape Air’s service and increase passengers carried even further,” Dyment said in the news release.

“We are excited that Cape Air will continue to be part of the Lebanon Airport for the future,” added Lebanon Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Rob Taylor. “The Chamber has worked closely with Cape Air to demonstrate the great value that they bring to our transportation system. We look forward to continuing these efforts and in particular are excited for the new aircraft coming online soon.”

Cape Air, which is based in Hyannis, Mass., serves 35 cities in the United States and the Caribbean.

John P. Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com.