The New England Regional Airport System Plan



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The New England Regional Airport System Plan
Helping New England Be New England
Sponsored by the New England Airport Coalition


  • Bangor International Airport

  • Boston Logan International Airport

  • Bradley International Airport

  • Burlington International Airport

  • L. G. Hanscom Field

  • Manchester - Boston Regional Airport

  • Portland International Jetport

  • Portsmouth International Airport

  • T. F. Green Airport

  • Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport

  • Worcester Regional Airport




  • Connecticut Department of Transportation

    • Bureau of Aviation & Ports

  • Maine Department of Transportation

    • Passenger Transportation Division

  • Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission

  • Massachusetts Port Authority

  • New Hampshire Department of Transportation

  • Rhode Island Airport Corporation

  • Vermont Agency of Transportation

    • Aviation Program




  • FAA Airports Division




  • New England Council


Inside...


How Does Aviation Help New England Be New England?
New Englanders fly a rate 80 percent higher than the national average. Knowing why helps us understand the essence of our region and how air transportation helps to preserve it.

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Understanding Regional Airport System Dynamics
Understanding regional airport system dynamics begins with understanding the evolving nature of the airline industry and its interaction with airport development.

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Building the Forecasts - The Basic Logic and Assumptions
Forecasts are more than numbers; here’s a brief primer on developing a critical eye for interpreting the products of the forecasting models.

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Forecast Results

What they tell us about the nature of the air transportation services required by the next generation of air passengers.



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Challenges for the Regional System

This presents a strategic approach to providing an essential public service that relies upon a constantly evolving private airline industry.



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Meet the Airports

A summary of key facts and issues for each of the study’s airports.



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  • Bangor International Airport

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  • Boston Logan International Airport

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  • Bradley International Airport

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  • Burlington International Airport

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  • L.G. Hanscom Field

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  • Manchester Boston Regional Airport

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  • Portland International Jetport

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  • Portsmouth International Airport

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  • Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport

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  • Worcester Regional Airport

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Finally…

Some final thoughts on the commitment required to achieving this vision and an acknowledgement of the organizations and individuals who contributed to this effort.



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Introduction
In the early nineties, the New England Region was faced with a dilemma that threatened its future economic development and vitality. In a world that was increasingly dependent upon air transportation, New England’s primary airport, Boston Logan International Airport, was running out of capacity and efforts to land bank a site for a new major airport had failed.
In the best Yankee tradition, the region began to examine how to make the best use of the resources they had - a system of under-utilized regional airports. By the end of the decade a unique collaborative effort involving all six state aviation agencies and eleven passenger service airports had positioned the regional airports to benefit from the entry of low fare carriers and had improved access to airline services for passengers throughout New England. However, the question remained, “Will this be enough to provide for the needs of the next generation of air passengers?”
To answer this question this coalition sponsored the New England Region Airport System Study (NERASP). This study discovered some very interesting answers to this central question. First, the region has an unusually high reliance on air transportation. Second, the system does have the ability to meet passenger demand through 2020. But to do so requires continued efforts to enhance the performance of each airport in the system. This is essential to achieve the level of efficiency and resiliency the system must have for a region so dependent on the services of a constantly evolving airline industry.
A majority of the Region’s passengers will continue to fly through Boston Logan International Airport. Therefore, the system will rely upon Logan to continue to improve its efficiency in handling aircraft operations and passengers. This study also identifies several airports that could improve the performance of the regional system if they can overcome the challenges they face in developing the services required by their communities. For example, Providence’s T. F. Green Airport lacks sufficient runway length to efficiently serve its communities’ needs for west coast and international markets. Worcester and New Haven have the potential to serve a total of 3.8 million passengers, drawing almost one million of these passengers away from congested airports in New England and New York. The forecast models also reveal an emerging market for jet service from Cape Cod to major domestic markets.
This report describes the foundations of a regional strategy for the air carrier airport system to support the needs of air passengers through 2020. Its underlying theme is to develop an airport system based upon the location of passengers and with adequate facilities to allow airlines to evolve the range of services that provide the best mix of efficiency, convenience, and reliability.
By providing this forward vision of the region’s needs, this study hopes to promote a common understanding of the challenges that need to be addressed by local airport planning and development programs.
A message from the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
New England continues to lead the way with an effort that is marked by both ingenuity and conservation of valuable resources. The New England Regional Airport System Plan is a blueprint that will be of great benefit to the passenger service airports in the great northeast.
This project represents an unparalleled collaboration by the six New England state aviation agencies and their passenger jet service airports. This plan combines the best and the brightest from academia, industry and government.
What you’ll find is a shared understanding of the challenges and opportunities presented to New England’s airport system. This document provides our airport managers and their governmental sponsors with a clearer view of the action required to support the air transportation needs of their communities. This means that significant investments can be made with an understanding of the long-term needs of the region’s passengers. More to the point, this plan is not influenced by the ups and

downs of the airline industry.


The value of applying regional planning for preparing for tomorrow’s challenges to our aviation system is of such national importance that I have made the completion of this study part of FAA’s Flight Plan.
Marion C. Blakey

Federal Aviation Administration


A Message from FAA’s New England Regional Administrator
In less than ten years, the United States will reach one billion passengers annually. The emergence of very light jets, the move from wide-body aircraft to smaller jets, and the shift to new entrants are changing the way Americans travel by air. It is an exciting future for the aviation industry.
The New England Regional Airport System Plan represents a key step in preparing for the future. It combines regional planning, economic development, and insightful knowledge of the air carrier industry to create a superb decision resource for the future development of the 11 passenger jet airports in the region. It will provide invaluable guidance for airport operators as they make important facility development decisions. In addition, it will support the regional coordination among airports required to serve the unique air transportation needs of the New England region.
If aviation is the lifeblood of America’s economy, and our airport system is the heartbeat that makes it go, this is doubly true for New England. There are challenges ahead. The New England Regional Airport System Plan inspires confidence that we will be ready to meet them.
Amy L. Corbett

Regional Administrator

FAA New England Region

A Message from this Study’s Sponsoring Agencies and Airports
The coalition of the region’s major airports, the six New England state aviation agencies, and the Federal Aviation Administration are proud of our latest effort the New England Regional Airport System Plan to understand the air transportation needs of New England.
Our coalition was established in the early ‘90s to develop a continuous approach to monitoring and managing the progress and

challenges of our New England airport system. We found that the development of this information at the system level gives us greater confidence as we strive to support the policies and investments required for the continued growth and prosperity of each of our jurisdictions within the New England region.




  • Bangor International Airport

  • Boston Logan International Airport

  • Bradley International Airport

  • Burlington International Airport

  • L.G. Hanscom Field

  • Manchester Boston Region Airport

  • Portland International Jetport

  • Portsmouth International Airport

  • T. F. Green Airport

  • Tweed-New Haven Regional Airport

  • Worcester Regional Airport




  • Connecticut Department of Transportation

  • Maine Department of Transportation

  • Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission

  • Massachusetts Port Authority

  • New Hampshire Department of Transportation

  • Rhode Island Airport Corporation

  • Vermont Agency of Transportation

Message from the Manager, FAA New England Region Airports Division
Normally our Division’s role is to provide funding and technical review to studies performed by the airports and state aviation agencies. For the past 12 years, however, the New England Region has enjoyed a true collaboration with this coalition. This partnership has allowed us to produce the quality of information that has successfully guided the investments leading to a stronger regional airport system. I want to take this opportunity to thank all the participants for the spirit of trust and cooperation that has been a defining element of our regional programs.
A high level of effort was directed at producing a report that would be informative to interested members of the public who do not have extensive aviation backgrounds. I hope all readers find that they have gained a deeper insight into the issues that will be engaging those of us working individually and collectively to meet the needs of New England’s next generation of air passengers.
And, finally, I would like to express my appreciation and admiration for the consultant and agency staff directly involved in producing this report. They have provided us with a product that not only advances the needs for our region, but also advances the very practice of regional airport system planning itself.
Laverne Reid

Manager,

FAA New England Airports Division

How Does Aviation Help New England Be New England?
Introduction
New England has an unusually high reliance on air transportation. The region generates 2.5 air passenger trips per year per capita, almost 80 percent higher than the national rate of 1.4. While this is a remarkable fact, a closer look reveals that several of the essential attributes of New England offer a plausible explanation for this high level of air travel. These attributes can be grouped into four categories geography, economy, population and cultural and scenic resources. Taken together they portray the very essence of New England. And underlying this portrait is a vision of the critical role

of high quality air transportation in sustaining the variety of attributes that combine to sustain this essence. Let’s take a closer look at these.


Geography Economy Population Resources
The factor that weaves these attributes together is air transportation.
Geography
New England’s location in the northeast corner of the country tends to turn New Englanders toward air travel. While high-speed rail offers a good alternative to New York, Philadelphia and Washington, business travelers have few alternatives

to air beyond this range. For most trips to other parts of the country, the convenience and speed of air travel is compelling. And with the emergence of low fare service, an increasing percentage of New England-based leisure travelers

have come to prefer air travel as well.
Economy
Some economists believe that economic growth will flow toward areas with a critical mass of people who are creative, enterprising, and collaborative. (See Footnote 1) This “creative class,” scientists, engineers, academics, doctors, and media professionals, seek to locate in places that exhibit certain qualities. These include an appreciation of individual merit, a tolerant social environment, an academic atmosphere, and opportunities to participate in active, outdoor recreational pursuits. New England fits this profile in a number of ways: the number of educational institutions, the culturally and ethnically diverse cities, the heritage of independent thinking, and easy access to a wide range of recreational experiences. As just one example of the existence of this type of economy in New England, the percentage of New England’s jobs in the medical, educational, and “information” fields is nearly 20 percent - as compared to just under 15 percent for the country as a whole. (See Footnote 2)
While advances in telecommunications and information technology have substituted to some degree for face-to-face communication, there still is a tremendous reliance on travel among participants in the knowledge industries. And the region’s acknowledged national leadership in education and medicine also tend to support the use of air travel. Researchers, medical professionals, patients, faculty, students, and conference participants travel to and from New England in great numbers and they do it by air.
Finally, international markets are increasing in importance for the New England economy. This is especially true of the rapidly developing Asian economies which are expanding in sectors (high technology, communications, etc.) that are of

relevance to New England’s own economy. The correspondence between these economies naturally contributes to the region’s high rate of business air travel.


Population
Income and education levels that are well above the national average characterize the region’s population. The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that two of the 5 most affluent states are Massachusetts and Connecticut. These higher incomes support higher levels of leisure air travel. This has been further stimulated by the expansion of low fare airlines throughout the New England market. And it is yet to be determined the extent to which leisure travel will grow, as baby boomers enter retirement with higher levels of disposable income and greater inclinations to travel than previous generations.
The degree to which the New England economy relies on its airports can be seen by considering a few other facts: in 2004, over 45 million people traveled by air from a New England airport to destinations in all 50 states and numerous countries. Over 700 metric tons of cargo - from electronic components and fresh flowers to tuna and maple syrup - was transported by aircraft from Logan Airport.
Airports are also a very important center of business activity in the region. It is estimated that the combined impact of revenues and payrolls generated by the NERASP airports exceeds 13 billion dollars per year.
Scenic and Cultural Resources
It has been said that had the United States been settled from West to East, all of New England would today be a national park. While that may be debatable, what is less debatable is the touchstone of the New England regional identity. The New England landscape is alive with spectacle, variety, and compelling natural beauty. It speaks to all of us: natives, long-time residents and even the college students who come, graduate and decide to stick around awhile. A natural magnet for tourism, the New England landscape is a human-scale panorama. It extends from the embrace of the Housatonic Valley to the hilly sanctuaries of the Berkshires; from the lakes of Central Massachusetts to the Maine coast; from the salt marshes of Cape Cod to Vermont’s Mount Mansfield; and from the kettle ponds of Rhode Island’s South County to the majestic Presidential Range of New Hampshire. There are few geographic brands as successful as “made in New England,” whether the product being sold is fall foliage, ski vacations, striper fishing, or maple syrup. Of course, the ultimate New England “product” is much of our national heritage; this includes, for example, pilgrims’ landings, sea trading, whaling, ship building, and the first shots fired in the war for independence. These qualities make New England a popular destination for travelers from throughout the country and abroad, and they travel here overwhelmingly by air.
Summary
The special attributes discussed above - involving geography, economy, population and resources - are essential ingredients in the formation of the New England identity. And these attributes tend to support one another. For example, the cultural and

scenic qualities of the region are one of the “qualities” that attract “creative class" industries; and the existence of these industries produces a population with higher levels of income and education. And the factor that weaves these attributes together is air transportation. It provides the ready two-way access between New England and the national and international markets essential for the function of the region's economy and the lifestyle of its population.


It was recognition of this reliance of New England on air transportation services that forged the alliance of the region's state aviation agencies and major airports, and motivated them to undertake this study. Given this understanding of why New Englander's fly 80 percent more frequently than the national rate, it is essential to have a strategy for developing an airport system that supports the aspirations of the region’s population and industries. This report describes both the analytical underpinnings and the specific actions comprising such a strategy for ensuring the vitality of the regional airport system through the next twenty years.
An example of how New England leads in knowledge industries is demonstrated by its role in medical training. Nearly 10 percent of the 375 member institutions of the (COTH), which represents the best hospitals in the country, are located

in New England. Massachusetts alone, the cornerstone of the New England medical sector, is home to 16 COTH member institutions, nearly one-half the New England total.


New England's regional airports have continued to evolve into a true system, a system in which increasingly overlapping service areas and improved ground access options are providing passengers with real options as they make air travel decisions.
Understanding Regional Airport System Dynamics

Scheduled Passenger Jet Service Airports
The New England Regional Airport System Plan (NERASP) study is the latest effort in an ongoing program of regional planning that began around 1990. (See Footnote 3) New England's commitment to regional airport planning arose from two related concerns.
First, Logan Airport in Boston, the region's busiest airport, was becoming increasingly congested and efforts to either expand capacity or develop a second major airport were judged impractical. (See Sidebar "How About a Second Major Airport in New England?")
Second, there was a growing awareness that several under-utilized airports were within easy reach of the Boston region and were capable of supporting jet service to major destinations outside New England. Many of these had just completed facility projects in response to development of new airline services following deregulation only to find passengers drawn back to Logan by airline price wars. In response to an initiative begun by the New England Council, the New England region formed a coalition of its scheduled jet service airports, the state aviation agencies, and the Federal Aviation Administration began to develop a plan for enhancing airline services throughout the region. (See Footnote 4)
This effort to improve the development of regional airport services had the following three objectives:
1. Improve customer service - match air travel service to passengers’ needs.

2. Support the region’s economy - ensure an efficient and reliable system of air service development consistent with the region’s growth.

3. Provide an environmentally sound air service system - minimize total distance traveled to access air travel, reduce passenger demand at congested airports, and avoid the need for developing a new major air passenger airport in New England.
Understanding regional airport system dynamics begins with understanding the evolving nature of the airline industry and its interaction with airport development
The Dynamics of the Regional Airport System
The behavior of this region’s airport system has primarily resulted from the interaction of airline services with the distribution of demand for airline services across the region. (See Footnote 5) By increasing their understanding of both the nature of passenger needs and the business strategies of the airlines, the public agencies in New England responsible for the airport system have substantially improved the distribution of air services for the region. This can be seen in the following review of major patterns of airline competitive strategies and consequent impacts on airport development since the deregulation of the airline industry.
Post-deregulation

(1982-1989)
In the early 1980s, just after airline deregulation, Logan served 78 percent of the region’s air passengers. Over the course of the decade, the development of hub and spoke systems by major airlines and aggressive airline expansion strategies introduced new jet services at regional airports and increased the use of connecting flights between Logan and regional airports with new turboprop aircraft. The regional airports invested in expanding passenger facilities and airfield improvements in reaction to rapid growth in passenger activity. By 1989, Logan’s share of the market had declined to 68 percent.
Competition for market share in major markets

(1990-1995)
The early 1990s ushered in a period of economic decline. In response to operating deficits, airlines shifted towards a business strategy of market dominance in major markets. This led to fare wars at Logan and premium fares at regional airports. Growth at regional airports was stagnant. Some airports were financially strained by recently expanded, but under-utilized facilities. In an effort to create more system balance and to support regional economic expansion, a coalition of airport sponsors and aviation agencies was formed to promote the development of air transportation service

throughout the region. The first action was to conduct a study of the geographical distribution of air passenger

markets across the region. The purpose of this was to evaluate the opportunity for improved jet services at the regional airports.
Armed with this study, in 1996, this coalition launched

its “Fly New England” campaign. It included:




  • A regional conference with all of the airlines to introduce the study findings,

  • Collaborative marketing campaigns to improve passengers’ and travel agents’ awareness of regional airports,

  • Use of the study data by airport managers to demonstrate to airlines the opportunities for enhancing revenues through lowered fares and improved routes, and

  • Funding of key runway and facility improvements to support regional airport markets.


Entry of low fare airlines and growth of regional airports

(1996-2000)
Coincident with the efforts of the “Fly New England” campaign, Southwest Airlines decided to expand into the New England market through the region’s secondary airports rather than Logan, expanding first at Providence and then into Manchester and Bradley. This was a significant catalyst to regional demand as their entry was met with both service improvements and fare reductions by the existing airlines.
This led to a complete reversal of the pattern of passenger growth over the first half of the decade (See Figure #1). From 1990-1996, Logan accommodated 77 percent of the 2.9 million passenger increase in New England. Over the next three years, when the region’s air passengers increased by 6.3 million, the regional airports accommodated three-fourths of the region’s growth. During this same period, new terminal and parking facilities were completed at Bradley, major runway extensions and terminal improvements were built at Manchester, and T.F. Green expanded terminal facilities and access road capacity. Logan completed a major modernization of its terminal and circulatory roadway system. Meanwhile Logan embarked on a major planning and environmental study to find ways to improve its airfield in order to continue serving the core Boston

metropolitan market.


Figure 1


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