The 'major' international flag carriers won't come...they have a fixation on BOS
et al. That's understandable. The carriers we could attract--and should be pitching to--are Monarch, Air 2000, JMC and all the other charter/holiday ones. These are the carriers that favor Sanford over Orlando, so asking them to favor Manchester over Boston is not a stretch at all.
Indeed, Manchester could be promoted as an alternative to Bangor for tech-stop purposes (to the extent that we have cheaper landing fees and overall costs). I believe, also, that Europeans wanting a ski holiday would do well to come here than 'simply' go to Switzerland. Even factoring in air fare, a trip 'all the way' to New Hampshire might well be less expensive than 'just' going to Switzerland--thanks to the value of the dollar for Europeans.
In order for this to work, we need a means of allowing these 757s, 767s, and A330s (aircraft of choice for these charter carriers) to dock at our beautiful terminal. Until the infrastructure is in place (read: customs/immigration), I believe such jets would have to pull in to the old Ammon Terminal...hardly a nice 'welcome to New Hampshire' for arriving passengers.
Yes, we'll have newly-opened Runway 17/35 at 9,250 feet this summer. But it is much more than the length of concrete that will get these charter carriers here. We need a gate that can be used for arriving jets (probably the end gate on the newly-extended 'A' pier so wingspan won't matter). Doesn't need to be a dedicated gate, because these charter flights would be few and far between. We also need the necessary barriers to funnel arriving passengers to a new processing center for customs/immigration. And we need the requisite personnel to handle all of this...probably on an as-needed basis because these flights would be sporadic. The mistake would be in trying to attract these charter carriers to Manchester without first setting the airport up for international arrivals/departures. Unless things have been going on behind the scenes relative to the above areas, I'm not sure we are there yet.
As for Pan Am, I applaud the concept of nonstop Caribbean flights on their 727s. Being Pan Am, I'll believe it when I see it. Even more to the point, I'll believe it when I see it last for a year or more. Pan Am has a propensity of being a 'here today/gone tomorrow' carrier, so it's not so much whether we attract them (yawn), it's whether they make a commitment. Ask Worcester, Gary, and even Portsmouth about Pan Am's 'commitment.' Nuff said.
Chris in NH