Manchester-Boston regional airport is a public airport operated by the City of Manchester in New Hampshire. The 1,500-acre airport, which was first built in 1927, is situated around three miles away from the CBD (central business district) of the city (50 miles north of Boston itself).

There are two runways 17/35 (9,250ft × 150ft, 2,819m × 46m) and 6/24 (east-west, 7,150ft × 150ft, 2,179m × 46m) and the facility currently handles around four million passengers a year (7,123,000 passengers a year are expected by 2020). There are 93,000 aircraft movements a year and the airport is the fourth largest in New England as far as passenger numbers are concerned (third largest for cargo).

“Further terminal expansion at Manchester-Boston Airport is planned, but will be demand driven.”

Manchester-Boston is fully certified for Cat III B operations and has a reputation for never closing due to bad weather (last closure in living memory was after the 11 September attacks).

The airport used to be a major air force base in the US but in 1972 was finally transferred completely to a civilian function. Manchester also has free Wi-Fi broadband for passenger use, which was installed in 2005–2006.

Manchester-Boston expansion

The first proper terminal at the airport was built in 1966, and in 1992 a new expansion and improvement plan was undertaken. By 1994 a new 158,000ft² terminal building had been opened. Further improvements followed with the opening of a new car park building in 1999 and the airport began to attract operators. The airport went through a sustained period of growth during the 1990s that saw runway 17/35 extended by over 2,000ft, which allowed a new non-stop flight to Las Vegas.

Other projects completed in this period include: runway 6-24 extension (2001), airport drive relocation (2004), taxiway E bridge (2002), pedestrian bridge (2001), west end terminal expansion (2004) and an ongoing residential sound insulation programme (entering its 14th year).

Access improvement

The access to the airport by highway is limited to small local roads but a project is underway to improve this. In 2007 a project was started to construct an expressway connection (Manchester Airport access road – MAAR), from the nearby FE Everett Turnpike. Nobis Engineering performed the geotechnical subsurface exploration programme and the geotechnical design analysis for the project.

The work will consist of two miles of new four-lane limited access highway, four major bridges, four ramp bridges as well as realignments for several existing roadways. The total project cost exceeds $120m and it is expected to be completed by late 2010.

Airport master plan

The most recent airport master plan was updated in 1997 and there are several important projects currently ongoing.

“Manchester-Boston Airport was a major US Air Force base until 1972.”

These include a nine-gate terminal addition along with the associated apron and taxiways, an additional parking garage, runway 06 reconstruction and safety area improvements (2007–2008, with an FAA grant of $18m), glycol collection / treatment (2005–2006), 3 gate north end terminal expansion (2006–2007), new parking lot G (2005–2006) and a new parking lot C expansion (2006–2007).

Manchester-Boston terminal expansion

The last major terminal building expansion, which opened in 2005 at the west end of the building, was designed by the architect Lavallee and was constructed by WSP Flack + Kurtz and Brensinger.

The expansion involved an extension over three floors with an increase in floor space of over 170,000ft². There were seven new air bridges, loading gates, airport authority offices and passenger services areas. There was also a new atrium along with a retail / food court and also observation platforms.

Further terminal expansion is planned but will be demand driven. Currently the airport is consolidating its infrastructure and solidifying the safety position with improvements to equipment, runways and landing systems.