A recent MIT report shows many small airports are struggling as more passengers book flights out of big cities.
And the findings are stark. Out of 74 small hub airports, only six added flights over five years. The vast majority, like Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, saw declines.
Researchers found the industry’s changing business model largely drives this trend. Airlines used to compete for passengers by offering lots of flights in convenient locations to a variety of places. Now, they’re focused on cutting costs by merging and packing a few planes full of people. That means airlines concentrate on big airports that already draw a lot of passengers, like Logan. And that’s been the case in Manchester, says Deputy Airport Director Brian O’Neill.
“When US Airways and America West merged, they de-hubbed Pittsburgh,” O’Neill says. “Through no fault of our own, they took the focus off their Pittsburgh operation and they took a significant number of flights out of there, and we lost four flights a day to Pittsburgh just because of the merger.”
At Manchester, airlines cut flight offerings by more than 40 percent between 2007 and 2012.