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Subsidizing Flights of Fancy



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A New England airline is offering nearly free flights — from Lebanon, N.H. to New York City and Boston — to ensure that Lebanon’s airport will reach the number of passengers necessary for federal funding in the new year. New Hampshire’s WMUR reports on the aviation cliff:

It’s probably been a long time since you’ve heard about a deal like this. Normally, flying from the airport in Lebanon to Boston or New York costs about $130 round-trip.

But now through the end of the year on Cape Air, those fares will only cost $12 each way.

“And your trip to New York City is really neat. You can fly from here to White Plains (in an) hour and a half. Included in the fare is ground transportation to Manhattan, which takes about an hour. So, door-to-door from where we are standing here to Midtown Manhattan, two and a half hours,” said Rick Dyment, the Lebanon Airport manager.

The huge discounts are part of an effort to boost the number of passengers flying out of the airport to 10,000.

That magic number will open up an additional $850,000 in funding from the FAA that can be used for airport projects. . . .

The airport is working with Cape Air to bring in the rock-bottom fares. Basically, the flights are free. The $12 covers fees and taxes.

Airport officials said it’s just a few dozen passengers away from hitting the FAA’s threshold. Already, officials said they are seeing an increase in people flying from the terminal.

Those flying to and from Lebanon are accessing such sites of crucial national importance as Dartmouth College, Squam Lake, and the White Mountains.



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