Director Envisions Flights To Florida, West Coast
Pease Development Authority Executive Director Richard Green
sure enjoyed watching new carrier Skybus makes its first flight in
to Portsmouth (NH) International Airport (PSM) this week.
The Pease Development Authority oversees PSM and former Air
Force base properties and is trying to turn them into an
"international tradeport." Green said he's optimistic the new low
fare carrier will help move that dream closer to reality by
expanding its Portsmouth service.
PSM is not real likely to become a major player in the arena of
major commercial airports with Logan International Airport,
Manchester Boston Regional Airport and Portland International
Jetport all within striking distance, Green said.
As far as regular service, PSM currently only provides Allegiant
Air flights to Sanford, FL twice a week in cold months, and Pan Am
Clipper Connection flights to Hanscom Field in Bedford, MA in
addition to the new Skybus flights.
Green told The Boston Globe he predicts flights to Florida and
even the West Coast with Skybus planning to add 70 additional jets
to its fleet within five years.
"We will certainly be very aggressive in trying to become a
focus city for Skybus," he said.
"We've got more plans for this airport as we grow. We've
attracted $160 million in start-up capital, more than any airline
in history, and we didn't sign up for 80 more planes just to
operate long-term out of Columbus with eight destinations. We
believe there's lots of opportunity for growth, and we think
Portsmouth is an excellent gateway for New England," Skybus Chief
Executive Officer Bill Dieffenderffer said.
The Federal Aviation Administration
and a coalition of New England airports issued a 20-year aviation
forecast for the region last year predicted travel at the region's
largest airports could increase to 76 million passengers by
No such projections were made for PSM. Instead, the report said
the little airport would be just "a niche airport" that served
primarily charter flights and "unique services" -- like an Airbus
The A380 is too big for regular service at Boston's Logan
International.. but PSM's 11,300-foot runway, originally built to
serve the US Air Force's B-52 bombers, can handle it quite