New Hampshire airport unsure over new construction after Skybus ends flights

Washington DC
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Today the Portsmouth, New Hampshire airport authority is reviewing plans to upgrade Portsmouth International airport following the demise of the airport’s only commercial carrier, Skybus Airlines.

Skybus ceased operations on 4 April citing high fuel costs. The startup will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection today.

The Airbus A319 operator linked Portsmouth with its bases in Columbus, Ohio and Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as the Florida destinations St Augustine and Punta Gorda.

Last month Pease Development Authority approved a $3.9-million contract to construct a third gate at the airport, and the rearranging of space to more than double the size of an existing gate. The contract also included the purchase of a second baggage carousel.

Portsmouth International airport manager Bill Hopper says the Skybus shutdown “came as a complete shock” noting the carrier had 80% load factors on Columbus flights between May and October. Loads to Florida, which launched from Portsmouth in January of this year, were also around 80% he says.

Hopper tells ATI the airport is “trying to regroup” after Skybus pulled its operations from the airport.

No Skybus aircraft remain in Portsmouth; the last A319 departed for Greensboro on 4 April, Hopper says