Archive for the ‘Portland International Jetport’ Category

Portland Jetport Losing Service To Nova Scotia

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

PORTLAND, Maine — The Portland Jetport’s only international flight will soon be history.

Starlink Aviation announced Thursday it’s getting rid of its service between Yarmouth and Halifax, Nova Scotia and the Portland Jetport.

The air service was only introduced in February and offered two flights a day. But because of a lack of funding, the flights will be suspended as of Dec. 1.

The airline said it tried to apply for some short-term government funding but were unable to do so.

Starlink said it hopes to resume service at some point in Portland, but isn’t sure when that will be.

It also said passengers who have already bought tickets but have not yet flown will get a refund within three business days.

Portland, Maine, Airport Reports Growth

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) ― Portland International Jetport is reporting its best third quarter ever.

The jetport released figures Thursday showing that 565,208 passengers passed through the facility in July, August and September of this year. That’s nearly 1.5 percent more than for the previous best third quarter, which was recorded in 2008.

But the jetport also says passenger figures to-date this year are down slightly from last year’s. However, officials are optimistic that the numbers will continue to rise as the year ends.

Jetport Director Paul Bradbury said the figures indicate that Portland continues to attract more passengers who once may have used either Boston’s Logan or Manchester airport in New Hampshire.

Multiple Taxi Services To Remain At Maine Airport

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) ― The Portland Jetport is abandoning a plan to grant exclusive rights to one taxi company for five years.

Jetport officials raised the idea in September as a way to streamline taxi service, but WMTW-TV reports that the airport instead is revamping the current system to allow dozens of independent drivers to continue their work.

Starting in January, the basic charge for using a taxi will increase $1.50 to $6.50. The money will be used to provide a GPS unit for each taxi and to establish a complaint hot line.

At jetport, it’s a waiting game

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Short security lines and inexpensive parking distinguish the Portland International Jetport from many other U.S. airports, but the jetport has one of the worst on-time arrival rates in the country.

That’s one of the findings in a report released today by the Brookings Institution, which ranks Portland third-worst among the nation’s 100 biggest metropolitan areas for on-time arrival rates, and 12th-worst for on-time departures.

TOP FIVE FOR LATENESS

Five worst on-time arrival performances among the biggest 100 metro areas. Figures show percentage of on-time arrivals.
1. New York, New Jersey, Long Island 66.3
2. Palm Bay, Melbourne, Titusville, Fla. 69.2
3. Portland, South Portland, Biddeford 73.3
4. Philadelphia, Camden, N.J., Wilmington, Del. 73.4
5. Columbia, S.C.73.6

The study by the nonpartisan public policy research group found that 73.3 percent of flights arrive in Portland on time, compared with the national average of 78.9 percent.

The only areas with lower percentages than Portland’s are New York-New Jersey-Long Island at 66.3 percent on-time arrivals, and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville in Florida at 69.2 percent.

The average delay in Portland is now 58.6 minutes, up 19 percent from 10 years ago. Departures from Portland are on time 81.3 percent of the time, compared with 83.1 percent nationally, the study says.

It isn’t air traffic in Portland that’s causing the late arrivals and departures, but congestion in New York and other cities that connect with Portland, the study concludes.

“This really means Portland is a slave to the operations going on elsewhere,” said Adie Tomer, a co-author of the report.

Many Portland flights link to cities with some of the worst travel delays, such as New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Miami, Atlanta and San Francisco. Nearly 60 percent of the flights in and out of the jetport connect with New York, Chicago, Philadelphia or Atlanta.

Using Logan International Airport in Boston or Manchester Boston Regional Airport in New Hampshire won’t get you there any faster. The Boston metro area, which includes those two airports, ranks 11th-worst in the country for delays, with only 75 percent of the arrivals on time.

Arrivals in the Boston metro area are delayed an average of 61.3 minutes, even longer on average than Portland, the study shows.

Among the top-rated metro areas for on-time arrivals are Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Detroit and Washington, D.C.

Although delays make life less convenient for passengers, they also highlight the challenges that metropolitan areas face, said Tomer. The study — the first to analyze air travel among metro areas as opposed to individual airports — offers recommendations for reducing delays.

One recommendation is to allow congestion pricing, charging airlines higher landing fees during heavy travel times. Also proposed is privatizing government-owned airports and concentrating high-speed rail investment along the busiest air travel corridors.

Air transportation specialists said the report’s findings don’t surprise them.

The jetport’s director, Paul Bradbury, said demand is for flights to major cities in the Northeast, which tend to be congested. “We are going to the places where people want to go,” he said.

Bradbury said cold weather is another factor, because Portland has limited de-icing capabilities. “The busiest time is 5:45 a.m., and if there is freezing rain, it is hard to get to (all of the planes) instantly,” he said.

Jim Iacono, director of business development for Maine Aviation, said his company’s charter jets avoid the heavily congested airports around New York City, instead meeting their passengers in the small regional airports in Teterboro, N.J., and White Plains, N.Y.

Phil Dube, manager of Dube Cruise and Travel Center in Scarborough, said his clients like to use the Portland airport.

“That is why I pretty much recommend they have at least an hour connecting time in those cities,” he said.

But Godfrey Wood, chief executive officer of the Greater Portland Chamber, said Portland’s ranking surprised him. “I fly a lot through New York, and in the last two years any flight I have taken has arrived right on the money,” he said.

He said the delays apparently have not deterred users of the jetport, which has seen large increases in passengers.

The number of passengers flying into the airport rose 92 percent in the past decade, according to the Brookings report. That is the kind of growth that’s normally seen only in regions with exploding populations, Tomer said.

“They wouldn’t have that growth,” Wood said, “if people weren’t happy with the service.”

Portland International Jetport

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

The airport in Portland, Maine, is called the Portland International Jetport (IATA code letters are PWM, for Portland-Westbrook Municipal). It’s “international” in that there are flights to Nova Scotia, but most flights are domestic, with popular destinations including New York, Washington, Chicago and Atlanta.

You can also fly within Maine from Portland — the New England Air Transport service links the Jetport with airports in Frenchville and Presque Isle, at the northern end of the state.

If you spend most of your time traveling in large metropolitan airports, you’ll find Portland’s small, but convenient, with relatively short walks between gates and plenty of parking near the terminal at reasonable rates. Security lines can be long, especially in the early morning on weekdays, so allow a little extra time to get through. I love flying out of Portland and often chose to do so even when I lived further away.

Portland takes airport security seriously because of an unfortunate connection to tragedy. On Sept. 10, 2001, two of the 9/11 terrorists came to Portland and spent the night in Maine. Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz al-Omari embarked at PWM the next morning on their connecting flight to Boston (and thence into the World Trade Center).

Portland, like many airports, suffered a loss in traffic after the attacks, but today is bustling and growing. If you land in Portland, you’ll find taxis and rental cars available to take you to your next destination, or try the Portland Explorer shuttle, which takes you to local hotels, bus stations and the Amtrak station.

If you are shopping for the best plane fare, you will also want to compare flights from Boston’s Logan Airport and the airport in Manchester, N.H., which are both about 90 minutes away by car. For Boston, remember to factor in expensive parking costs. Airport Car Express provides a luxury limo service to and from the Portland Jetport at rates that compare favorably with most local taxi services and may in many cases provide the best transportation option.

All Aboard for Portland

Sunday, July 19th, 2009

To the experienced business traveler, Portland is not a bad place to arrive. The airport is small and easy to navigate; the highways are only somewhat confusing. By far the best way to arrive, in my opinion, is via the Downeaster, Amtrak’s service between Boston and Maine.

Yes, it takes longer than driving between the two cities. Well, at least if you drive the way I do. But for a $48 round-trip ticket, you don’t have to pay for parking, gas, or tolls. Plus you get to relax in comfortable seats with wifi and electrical outlets to help you stay entertained and/or productive on the journey.

The trains offer a handy option for those Mainers who wish to attend Boston sporting events (the final stop is at North Station, which is in the same building as the Celtics and Bruins home games and a short subway ride away from the famed Fenway Park) and perhaps enjoy a beer or four without having to worry about driving back home.

Even better, they allow virtually stress-free travel to Portland for those flying into Boston (you’ll need a cab or subway to get from Logan Airport to North Station) and for Bostonians looking to get out of town for a weekend or more.

Because the Downeaster also stops in Old Orchard Beach (summer only), Saco and Wells, you can also use it for brief day trips away from Portland, no car required.

Each train has bathrooms, a cafe car with a small but adequate selection of breakfast, and friendly, helpful conductors who also offer travel information and advice. On my trip back from Boston today, one of them stopped to let a little girl pose for pictures wearing his conductor’s hat.

Once in Portland, it’s a good idea to have a car waiting for you. The city has a bus system, but it’s pretty limited. You can arrange this with a rental agency, or take a taxi at the station. Parking at the train station lot is a mere $3 a day — a pittance to those used to leaving their vehicles in Boston or New York.

Airport Car Express is one of the best local taxi companies which provides a Lincoln Towncar Limo at a rate comparable to most taxi companies

Jetport seeks out new Seacoast, York County customers

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

By Dave Choate

dchoate@seacoastonline.com
June 29, 2009 6:00 AM

PORTLAND, Maine — A Portland International Jetport campaign to draw in passengers from around the Seacoast has drawn to a close, but airport officials are hoping its intended effect reverberates through the coming months.

Making use of the Internet, newspapers, the airways and well-known Maine comedian Bob Marley, the jetport sought in recent months to add to its passenger base in a tough time for airlines and airports everywhere, kicking off the campaign early in 2009 when passenger boarding numbers were down about 6 percent, according to jetport Marketing Manager Gregory Hughe

For information, visit www.portlandjetport.org.

The campaign aimed to attract passengers who either don’t fly or who currently travel to Boston for their flights. With that effort concluded for the year, jetport officials said they were cautiously optimistic for growth across the region and in the total number of travelers taking to the skies this summer.

Hughes said there continues to be a focus on advertising in York County, but said the jetport does not currently have funds necessary to put together a study and determine how many more passengers are coming from the targeted areas.

He said staff are hopeful that Maine’s natural attractions, which could make for a cheaper vacation, will prove to be a huge draw as the weather improves.

Airport Director Paul Bradbury said in the spring that the goal was to convince those in southern Maine and Seacoast New Hampshire that a trip to Portland is quicker and easier than a trip to Logan Airport in Boston. Bradbury said the Jetport did so in hopes of tapping into a total of 2.2 million passengers he said the company’s research shows are within the Greater Portland trade area.

The biggest pushes for the campaign were in southern Maine and eastern Rockingham County in New Hampshire, according to Bradbury, who acknowledged that those close to Logan and Manchester-Boston Regional Airport in Manchester, N.H., will still mostly choose to head there, especially for flight paths that Portland doesn’t carry.

He said some of the challenge has come from people who don’t think to drive north if their flight is carrying them south, but noted that those living in Kennebunk or Wells can make a trip to the jetport in less than 45 minutes, while a trip to Boston can take upwards of an hour and 45 minutes. Pitching that distance advantage, plus what he said were cheaper parking rates, will hopefully appeal to the gas and money conscious.

“That’s absolutely the hope,” Bradbury said. “That’s the crux of our campaign.”

That campaign prominently featured the familiar Maine-accented voice of Marley, a comedian whose riffs on Downeast life have made him popular in the area.

Hughes said there was some initial reluctance to make use of Marley — “the airlines, transportation and travel are easy jokes for comedians,” he said — but found last year that he was a frequent flyer and an asset for the marketing effort.

“Our theme this year has been convenience, convenience, convenience,” Hughes said. “He’s a perfect spokesman.”

Hughes said the emphasis was on what he called Portland’s competitive pricing thanks to low-cost airline carriers, ample parking and close proximity to the targeted areas to drive the campaign. He said he realizes that with the current economic climate, people are looking for deals, and hopes those close to Portland will be able to find one at the jetport.

“Everybody wants to get a reasonable airfare. You’d be foolish not to,” Hughes said.

Bradbury acknowledged that airports and airlines alike have struggled through the recession with dips in boarding numbers, with The Portland International Jetport slotted firmly in the middle of the smallest and biggest drops.

“The reality is that our base is shrinking,” Bradbury said at the time. “We need to capture a greater percentage of our market and not lose more.”