Future of the Northern Maine Regional Airport

The Northern Maine Regional airport services around 13 thousand passengers every year, but right now some of those passengers are wondering what the future holds.

“There’s 35 states out of the 50 that have at least one essential air service airport.”

The airport here in Presque Isle is part of the essential air services. A domestic program that President Trump has on the chopping block.
President Trump’s proposed budget would cut funding for the ESA program, which provides money for rural airports.

“That obviously would be devastating if that’s done in the short term.”

“You gotta have a small airport to service the business’ that support it.”

Mark Lamoureaux traveled to Presque Isle from Connecticut. He makes the flight into Northern Maine once a month to visit GrandFalls for business. If the option to fly into Presque Isle wasn’t there, he says it would make things more complicated.

“For us, we’ve got a sizable plant, it’s going to make it very difficult for us to bring in customers and for us to transfer our own employees back and forth if we don’t have this airport that’s for sure.”

The airport director Scott Wardwell says this isn’t the first time the president has threatened to cut funding for the program. But he says with support from Senator Susan Collins, he’s confident the program will stay intact.

“She’s also on a critical committee that will look at the funding of the essential air service programs.”

If the program does get shelved, Wardwell says they’ll push to have it end over the long term, instead of all at once and then look at how they can move forward on their own.

“Then start to really push back and trying to get some regulation reform that probably addresses the needs and concerns in small airports verses a one size fits all.”

Wardwell says support for the airport is critical now more than ever. But he’s confident the feds, along with the community will remain on board with the program.