TRENTON – A small local airport with massive tourism implications got some good news in the middle of the night Thursday, as last second bids came in to take on summer flights near Bar Harbor.
Pen Air, the summer airline making trips to and from Hancock County Bar Harbor Airport, chose not to renew its contract, set to expire in July, in the middle of tourist season.
But, Pen Air’s loss could soon be another airline’s gain, as two bids were put in just before a midnight deadline Thursday night, to work out of the airport starting in July, at the peak of tourist season.
“[Almost] 50% of our passengers come through our terminal building in just over three months,” said Brad Madeira, the airport’s manager. “Which is from just before Memorial Day to Labor Day.”
To some, the airport might seem like an exclusive getaway portal, where private jets whisk the rich to and from their MDI mansions, but Madeira says the facility provides practical transport for working people.
Unlike Bangor, BHB provides direct flights to and from Boston, so businesses in the Bangor area can fly to meetings in the big city. Both companies with bids have partnerships with major airlines, meaning visitors could fly from the west coast to Acadia’s doorstep without booking a separate flight. And, for better or worse, passengers will be flying in small planes, with 12 to 35 seats per flights, depending on which company wins.
Madeira added, “It has to make a big difference to the local economy when [passengers] can get right here.”