Thursday, May 25, 2017

Martha's Vineyard Airport (KMVY) Ready for Summer Takeoff




The Martha’s Vineyard Airport is gearing up for summer with the return of seasonal airlines, terminal upgrades, extra training for staff and noise abatement efforts.

Airport manager Ann Crook said she expects a busy season as the large commercial carriers come in to join Cape Air, the Island’s only year-round airline.

American, Delta and Jet Blue will provide service to the airport this summer. Jet Blue, which serves John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York and Logan Airport in Boston, began flights to the Island on May 19. Delta will begin service to JFK and Laguardia on June 12

American will begin on June 23, offering service to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., and Laguardia in New York. Cape Air, which flies year-round routes between the Vineyard and Boston, Nantucket and New Bedford, will add summer service to Hyannis and White Plains, N.Y.



While commercial service this year is “more compact,” with less service in the shoulder seasons, Ms. Crook nevertheless expects a robust few months.

“American is bringing in bigger aircraft than they did last year. The flights start later, but the airplanes are bigger,” she said.

In general, the number of passengers boarding aircraft at MVY is up. In the 12 months ending Jan. 31, there were 53,000 enplanements, compared to 49,000 in the year prior. The bulk of these enplanements — Ms. Crook estimated 80 per cent — occur between May and October. Ms. Crook also said: “I do meet with the airlines on a regular basis, and everything they tell me is they’re happy here, they’re getting good numbers, they’re making money.”

For commercial service, market share has changed a bit over the past two years. Delta saw a slight gain, from 11.3 percent for the year ending Feb. 28, 2016 to 14.91 percent for the year ending Feb. 28, 2017. Cape Air saw a reduction in market share, from 45 percent to 40.25 percent. All other airlines’ market share remained fairly stable. Though the data indicates a reduction in volume for Cape Air for the summer of 2016 compared with 2015, Trish Lorino, vice president of marketing and public relations for Cape Air and Nantucket Airlines, was upbeat about the summer outlook.



“Advance bookings are strong, but we’re always optimistic that the weather’s going to cooperate with us and we’re going to see a nice influx of last minute bookings that really are driven by weather forecasts,” she said.

She also noted Cape Air’s longstanding practice of meeting demand by adding service. “When we see demand in a certain area, if we can add an additional section to our routing, we will,” she said.

Looking to the future, Ms. Crook said she will be meeting with route planners from six airlines in June. This could result in additional service for 2018 and beyond, she said.

Meanwhile, if early trends continue, it will be a busy summer for private aircraft in General Aviation. Fuel sales and landing fees, two rough measures of private aircraft service, are up, Ms. Crook reported. She said the airport sold nine per cent more fuel from January through April this year, compared with the same period last year. And General Aviation landing fees are up fifteen per cent from the same period last year. The airport is hiring additional staff to work in General Aviation, Ms. Crook said.

She also described other activities, including more customer service training on the aviation side of operations over the winter.



Restrooms at the airport are undergoing renovations, both in General Aviation and in the main terminal. Ms. Crook hopes the renovations will be complete by mid-summer.

And as construction on the new Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Building continues, airport administrators are working on temporary parking solutions for General Aviation flyers.

Another change at the airport is a new strategy for noise reduction. Overhead noise has been a source of increasing complaints in recent years from residents living beneath flight paths, especially in West Tisbury. Ms. Crook said air traffic control this summer will use a system of guidepoints aimed at avoiding direct flight over noise-sensitive areas.

But as staff at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport prepares for the high season, there’s one notable absence in their preparations. “This year we’re not expecting a presidential visit,” Ms. Crook said.

She added that the airport stands ready to welcome former President Obama if he returns. “Now that he is a private citizen, that will be more like the typical VIP visits we get, which are pretty common,” she said.

Original article can be foundhere:  https://vineyardgazette.com/

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