Vermont officials are hailing an increase in business at the Burlington International Airport as they welcome a new airline to the airport.
The city of Burlington owns and operates the Burlington International Airport. Officials expect the number of travelers using the facility to be between 650,000 and 700,000 by the end of the year, up from 580,000 five years ago.
Mayor Miro Weinberger is pleased that business is increasing at the airport, which struggled during and after the recession. “As we move towards the 4th quarter of the year in 2018 we are up a full 12 percent over last year in terms of enplanements. This is a trend that is long overdue. We’ve worked towards it for a long time and it was hard there for a while. This airport was hit hard by the recession back in 2008–2009 and we’ve had stability with enplanements for a long time. It is outstanding it is great to see that we’re finally starting to see some growth.”
The airport has worked to attract airlines and add flights with bigger jets. This week, officials gathered at the airport to announce that Frontier Airlines will begin flights between Burlington and Orlando, Florida next year. Frontier Communications Director Jonathan Freed calls Burlington a fantastic market with tremendous potential. "Airports are economic engines for a community and a lot of people I think take airports for granted. But the number of jobs that are created and the partnerships that exist between an airport and businesses and families is something that’s really profound. And it’s something that at Frontier we take very seriously.”
Vermont Governor Phil Scott believes the new flights will provide greater tourism and development opportunities for the state. “A lot of the emphasis will be put on how convenient and how affordable this service will be for Vermonters who want to fly to Florida. But Frontier comes the other way. Florida has a population of 19.6 million people. So I’m here to thank Frontier for offering a service that allows millions more Americans easy access to everything that Vermont offers.”
Vermont Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Business Development Chris Carrigan adds that the new flights help propel growth in Vermont’s aviation sector and drive economic development. “Vermont is home to a thriving aviation industry. According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the FAA, the economic impact of civil aviation for the state of Vermont includes 1.17 billion in economic output, 298 million in earnings and supports 9,500 jobs. Civil aviation furthermore represents 2.2 percent of Vermont’s gross domestic product.”
The airline says the flights will run twice a week on Wednesdays and Saturdays beginning in February. Frontier officials say service could expand if the route is popular.