Nantucket Airport Seeks Gradual Air Service Expansions

nantucket harborNANTUCKET – Nantucket Memorial Airport manager Tom Rafter said he hopes more passenger service will soon be on the runway.

Rafter was recently joined by Nantucket Chamber of Commerce executive director Janet Schulte and local business owners during a focus group which was designed to brief them on how airlines assess risk, how increased service could bring more business to town and how the local leaders are hoping to attract more service to the area.

The main propeller in this plan, a Small Community Air Service Development Grant, would act as a financial cushion for airlines when new, potentially risky flights are introduced.

“As part of this grant, you must also provide community support and establish some level of public-private partnership,” Rafter said. “That could take the form of making packages available from hotels, marketing, or a number of things.”

Rafter said he envisions success in Nantucket would spread to Martha’s Vineyard and Hyannis airports.

But in order to develop the town’s candidacy for such a grant, enough data must first be gathered which examines the island’s eligibility for it.

Rafter said those present at the focus group provided insight into how difficult it can sometimes be to get on and off the island.

The move toward more passenger service follows the sudden decline of freight service Nantucket experienced when Island Airlines went bankrupt in December.

The airport manager said officials are still seeking solutions to fill that gap.

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