Does this make sense, could the experts comment please.
I'm not familiar with the airline involved or the MA
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
By KAREN GREEN ALEXANDER
EWING - Boston-Maine Airways began flying out of Trenton-Mercer Airport yesterday, offering stiff competition to Shuttle America on its Boston route.
Shuttle America, the only airline at the airport for several years since Eastwind Airlines went bankrupt, appears to have dropped its prices by more than a third to compete with Boston-Maine.
Boston-Maine’s service to Hanscom Airport in Bedford, Mass., begins at $99 and Shuttle-America, a contract carrier for U.S. Airways, now charges at least $95 each way, before taxes. Shuttle America has previously charged $150 each way to Hanscom.
The inaugural morning was quiet for the Portsmouth, N.H.-based newcomer.
Boston-Maine passengers were scant yesterday morning.
There were three passengers on one morning flight and one passenger on another into Trenton-Mercer, Kurt Neinstedt, regional manager for Boston-Maine, said.
Even so, this is just the beginning, said an executive for the airline.
Boston-Maine is initially flying three flights a day between Trenton-Mercer and Hanscom and has plans to increase that April 20 to seven daily, each way, officials said.
“We see a market we want to exploit,” said company President Dave Fink.
Fink flew in yesterday morning for a welcome at Trenton-Mercer from County Executive Brian Hughes, members of the Mercer County Board of Chosen Freeholders and others including Ewing Mayor Wendell Pribila.
Boston-Maine was attracted to Trenton-Mercer Airport because of the convenience it offers to the customer and the fact it is an “established market,” Daniel C. Fortnam, vice president of sales and marketing for Boston-Maine, said.
The airline is owned by Guilford Transportation, which is owned by Fink and partner Tim Mellon, Fortnam said.
The company bought Pan Am in June 1998, and the Pan Am logo is pasted on the tail fins of Boston-Maine planes that fly out of Trenton-Mercer.
Noted pilot Amelia Earhart was a Boston-Maine vice president, Fink said yesterday.
Boston-Maine aircraft seat 19 passengers, and the airline can break even with six passengers per flight, Fortnam said. Both Boston-Maine and Shuttle America fly small, propeller planes. Boston-Maine flies the British Aerospace Jetstream 31, Fink said. Shuttle America flies the Saab 340 turboprop, which seats 30, said a spokeswoman.
-- -- -- Waiting for a Shuttle America flight to Hanscom for an annual conference in Boston yesterday afternoon, David Grueneberg, director of advertising for Bristol-Myers Squibb, said he had taken the train for the trip last year.
Planning this year’s trip, he heard Boston-Maine would be starting service and tried to book a flight, but Boston-Maine hadn’t initiated bookings. Then Grueneberg found out about Shuttle America and booked with them.
Hughes said he was pleased that competition had arrived at the airport and said it should bode well for users and taxpayers, whose dollars help support the airport.
Shuttle-America announced earlier this year it planned to end its service at Trenton-Mercer, which is owned by Mercer County. “We began making calls,” and Boston-Maine “responded,” said Hughes.
Then Shuttle-America decided it would stay, said Hughes.
The airport has operated at a deficit but the new competition is “a sign of what constant marketing and location can do,” Freeholder Tony Mack said.
Pribila is hoping the expanded service will add to development happening around the airport. That includes a Courtyard by Marriott hotel, opened earlier this year.
“It’s a good opportunity to see how it will help the communities,” Freeholder Keith Hamilton said. “People have been talking about (the airport) as an economic engine,” but Hamilton said he’s “still not convinced.”
Boston-Maine is directing most marketing to travel agents and businesses but does plan some advertising in coming weeks, Fortnam said.
Shuttle America has five flights daily between Ewing and Hanscom and one flight each way to Pittsburgh, a
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