Portland Jetport

markhb

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^ A renovation project to improve the lower level prior to baggage claim will remove the current escalator and add a new one further west to shorten the route from the upper concourse. Sorry, people mover not in any future improvement budgets : )
Well, if not having a people mover gets us closer to a real ICE port of entry facility, I'll surrender :).
 

Portlander

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Cosakita, don't forget JetBlue's E190 and Delta's MD 88/90 mainline aircraft. Where did you find the CY 2017 emplacements for PWM and MHT? The FAA normally doesn't release the official numbers until October of the following year.
 
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Portlander

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Frontier Airlines is implementing new service (November) to Tampa and Fort Myers from Portland in addition to Orlando which began last week. American is also adding a third daily flight to Charlotte.
 

TC_zoid

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It looks like PWM already snubbed Manchester as the 4th busiest in New England, with 1.8 million passengers in 2017, compared to 1.63 million for MHT

The primary reason Manchester had more passengers was because of discount carrier, Southwest (before it was in Portland). It was such an irritant using that airport if living in the Portland area because of the lack of bus and other travel options. Soon Portland will double the passenger count of Manchester. 37 million people visited Maine last year and the number will continue to climb. Also, now that airfares in Logan have gone down a bit, less incentive for people in southern New Hampshire to use Manchester. And Manchester only an hour's drive from Boston. Why use Manchester when you have more options in Boston?
 

CSTH

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Why use Manchester when you have more options in Boston?
Well...to be a little pedantic, at the end of the day people only need one flight from among all the options available to them, and in some cases that 'best option' flight will leave from manchester.
 

TC_zoid

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Well...to be a little pedantic, at the end of the day people only need one flight from among all the options available to them, and in some cases that 'best option' flight will leave from manchester.
And if that one flight is cancelled, or you miss it, the options pale in comparison to what Boston has.
 

markhb

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And if that one flight is cancelled, or you miss it, the options pale in comparison to what Boston has.
As a Portlander, I'll take that risk and fly out of PWM if the price difference is reasonable, as a key point to me is not having that 2-hour ride home (from ether MHT, which I've never flown out of, or BOS) when I return.
 

Portlander

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I don't know of anyone that flies out of MHT from the Portland area anymore, the leakage has long stopped. There was a period when Southwest was still direct to Phoenix and Las Vegas (maybe Houston?) where it may have made sense if that was your final destination. There are more airlines, more destinations and more mainline aircraft out of PWM. And i agree with markhb, that 2 hour journey from Boston or Manchester on your return home is painful! That said, the airline business is can be unpredictable and bragging rights can change quickly if PWM were to lose an airline and MHT were to gain one.
 

mainejeff

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PWM losing Jet Blue year round service. Ugh.

Looks like I will be flying out of Boston now.
 

Portlander

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They will still serve Portland from Memorial through Labor Day so it's not a total loss. Delta will probably pick up the slack to JFK and Frontier has also added more service to Florida destinations which is where most JetBlue passengers travel to out of PWM. Would be more concerned if they were totally abandoning Maine and this allows them to restore year round service in the future if desired.
 

mainejeff

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They will still serve Portland from Memorial through Labor Day so it's not a total loss. Delta will probably pick up the slack to JFK and Frontier has also added more service to Florida destinations which is where most JetBlue passengers travel to out of PWM. Would be more concerned if they were totally abandoning Maine and this allows them to restore year round service in the future if desired.
This is still troublesome. Frontier is no jet Blue....neither is Delta for that matter. I'd argue that this hurts Mainers more than tourists. More Mainers fly out of Maine from Labor Day to Memorial Day.

Burlington was not touched and still has a bunch of daily Jet Blue flights. I think that this is a shortsighted move by Jet Blue considering what is happening in Portland....pop growth, business growth and year round tourism growth.
 

Dr. StrangeHat

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Burlington was not touched and still has a bunch of daily Jet Blue flights. I think that this is a shortsighted move by Jet Blue considering what is happening in Portland....pop growth, business growth and year round tourism growth.
This probably has more to do with competition, from both airlines and other airports, than anything.

Airlines Serving Burlington:
American
Delta
Frontier
JetBlue
United

Airlines Serving Portland:
American
Delta
Elite
Frontier
JetBlue
Southwest
United

Distance to Next Major Airport from Burlington:
Montreal = 104 miles (plus a border crossing)
Manchester = 171 miles
Boston = 218 miles

Distance to Next Major Airport from Portland:
Manchester = 95 miles
Boston = 105 miles
TF Green = 168 miles
 

Portlander

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Nice research Dr. Strangehat. JetBlue operates 3 daily flights out of BTV to JFK, which is one less than Portland. JetBlue has decided to put more emphasis into Boston as a focus city which has impacted PWM and PVD and has prevented new service into MHT. PWM can be impacted by decisions in BOS where Burlington is kind of in it's own orbit similar to Bangor.

Burlington is more connected to Montreal as the good Dr. pointed out. It is actually dealing with local competition from Plattsburgh, NY which has landed Spirit Airlines and recently completed a major expansion of it's terminal. The airline business is cutthroat and based on profit and available aircraft and very few airports are totally immune to constant changing market needs.

PWM should continue to grow despite the recent JetBlue announcement primarily due to the positive points that mainejeff brought up. The Jetport has moved past Manchester in enplanements and is now the 4th busiest airport in New England after BOS, BDL and PVD.
 

Portlander

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Renovations (terrazzo flooring, signage, carpet, etc) to the Gate 1 through 6 portion of the concourse begins on December 3rd. This includes removing the current escalators and adding new ones further west in order to open up the area and improve the flow to baggage claim. A new glass elevator will be added along with new restrooms in the gate section.

A large crane will be installed inside the terminal to accomplish this project and the completion date is planned for April. Passengers will be inconvenienced for a period by having to walk outside in order to access baggage claim. The goal is to match the older part of the concourse with the newer and give Gates 1-6 a more modern appearance.
 

Portlander

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That will now give Portland 9 airlines serving 22 non stop destinations during the busy summer/fall season. Now if PWM could ever achieve consistent service to Toronto, Montreal or Halifax to make the "international" relevant in the airport's name. Looks like the jetport will end up with a modest gain in passenger counts for CY2019 compared to last years incredible 14% growth which is better than a decline.
 

Portlander

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American Airlines has just announced non stop mainline service from Portland to DFW from June through October on Saturdays. PWM's western reach keeps expanding along with the recent addition of direct flights to MSP on Sun Country Airlines. Seasonal flights are better than no flights!
 

Arlington

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This"Vacationland" thing seems like it could catch on.
 

Portlander

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Southwest Airlines has just announced new seasonal service between PWM and BNA along with additional summer flights (Sat and Sun) to MDW. Would have never predicted Nashville as an option out of Portland but it's nice to see WN slowly increasing it's capacity from Maine.
 

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With the holiday travel season in full swing, the head of the Portland International Jetport said he expects to close out 2019 as another record year in passenger volume.

"My goal for 2019 was to hold the gains of 2018, and it appears we will achieve that," airport director Paul Bradbury told Mainebiz.

Based on his December projections, the airport expects to report a 1.8% increase in passenger traffic this year to 2.17 million passengers. That compares with 2.13 million passengers in 2018.

While the momentum has slowed from last year's 14.5% jump, Bradbury said he's happy with the overall preliminary numbers. But he noted that December data won’t be available until the second week of January.


Several individual months have also seen record high passenger numbers, though Bradbury said summer bookings were affected by the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX aircraft.

Asked what's driving the overall growth trend, Bradbury said that "Maine and the region are very popular right now" for travel and leisure, and that the growing number of westbound destinations from the jetport is one reflection of that.

"I'm as amazed as anyone that a metropolitan statistical area of just over half a million people can generate the kind of exceptional air transportation that we have," he said. "The reason we're doing so well is the region's doing well."
2019 bookings at a glance

Below is the breakdown for month-on-month passenger traffic in 2019, including Bradbury's December projections, along with percent changes from last year.

Chart showing Jetport passenger traffic by month, and percent changes over 2018.


Mainebiz chart/Matt Selva
2020 optimism

Based on advanced bookings so far for 2020, Bradbury sees the passenger growth trend continuing.


"Capacity is down for us in December in January, but then it turns a corner in February," he said. "What's really interesting is that we come to a big gain in April of 2020 ... so parking could be tight."

Already, outbound capacity is up by 18,983 seats over the next six months, or up 3.4% year-on-year.

The jetport has a lot on its plate for the next couple of years in terms of capital improvement projects.

Top of the to-do list are setting up federal inspection services for U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to allow for international charter flights to tropical destinations, and the building of passenger boarding bridges for gates 11, 12 and 13.

Portland International Jetport director Paul Bradbury, inside the airport.


Photo / Courtesy Portland International Jetport

Airport director Paul Bradbury predicts a busy 2020, particularly April.

Bradbury says he hopes to have the passenger bridges ordered and installed in 2020, and the federal inspection services ready by the start of the second quarter of 2021.


The estimated cost for the passenger bridges is under $2 million, and $9.7 million for federal inspection services.

The city of Portland recently sold $58 million in airport bonds to help the jetport shave its debt burden to free up cash for projects, as reported by Mainebiz last month. The issue was 5.7 times oversubscribed.
 

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