Massachusetts' residents today gained a convenient new travel option with Shuttle America's nonstop airline service to New York City. The commuter airline received final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval on Saturday and today started five daily nonstop flights between Hanscom Field in Bedford and LaGuardia Airport in New York. This new service complements Massport's regional transportation strategy by tapping into the popular New York-Boston route, Logan International Airport's biggest market which accounts for 2.4 million of the airport's 24 million domestic passengers a year
"Hanscom Field is a good alternative for those travelers looking to avoid Big Dig hassles and big airline fares," said Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham. "As we move forward with regionalization, we will continue to partner with the FAA to provide the flying public with convenient options, closer to their home or business. Whether it's Manchester Airport or rail service or Hanscom Field, we want travelers to use alternatives to Logan Airport."
Shuttle America's direct flights to New York will help ease the pressure on Logan, which handles 150 flights a day to and from the metropolitan New York area. Massport also recently announced new American Eagle service from Worcester Regional Airport direct to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport. In addition, Massport expects Logan Airport to benefit from high-speed Acela train service in December. Shuttle America is offering fares as low as $69 one-way for the Hanscom-New York flights in its 50-seat, environmentally friendly Bombardier Dash 8-300 aircraft. The aircraft is a twin engine turboprop selected by the airline in part for its low noise/emission profile. Commercial service comprises less than 5% of Hanscom's operations.
Hanscom Field continues to be New England's premier general aviation airport, handling almost 200,000 corporate and private aircraft operations a year. Over the past 20 years seven airlines have flown commercially from Hanscom Field providing limited service to several markets. In 1999, commercial air traffic returned to Hanscom with Shuttle America's eleven round-trip flights to Trenton, NJ; Buffalo, NY; and Greensboro, NC. This service has proven to be extremely popular, serving more than 112,000 people this year alone. Hanscom Field's function in New England's regional transportation system is to handle general aviation and corporate flights while offering limited commercial service as covered by Massport's Master Plan and 1980 Noise Regulations.
"I look forward to working with the FAA and local community groups as we chart Hanscom's future," added Buckingham. "We must create a regional system that works for all the citizens of the Commonwealth."
Over the last year Massport has teamed up with the FAA and regional airports to equitably spread the burden and the benefits of commercial aviation throughout New England. On January 15, 2000 the Authority assumed operation of Worcester Regional Airport and has succeeded in bringing two major airlines to the underutilized facility. Massport has committed $1 million this year to revitalizing the Central Massachusetts airport and MassHighway is moving forward with options to improve access to the airport.
Also, Massport officials continue to collaborate with the aviation directors of T.F. Green Airport, Manchester Airport, Bradley Airport, and Pease International Tradeport to develop a comprehensive transportation strategy for the region that includes a unified marketing and advertising effort, joint trade show appearances, and an informational web site.