WEST LEBANON -- Work begins this week on 22 new private and corporate airplane hangars to be built on a new tarmac at Lebanon Airport.
The project will add 16 T-hangars for single-engine planes as well as four medium-sized box hangars and two larger corporate hangars.
The hangars, which will eventually generate lease revenue for the city, are part of an overall plan to create new revenue streams at the municipal airport, which offers daily commercial flights to LaGuardia International Airport in New York.
Despite the demand for airport services in the Upper Valley, especially among the Dartmouth community, Lebanon Airport has a total deficit of more than $500,000 and continues to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.
Interim Airport Manager David Gobin is coordinating a multi-faceted approach to collecting market and facilities data for the Lebanon City Council so that it can make a decision regarding the future of the airport, even if that means shutting it down, as Lebanon Mayor Pat Hayes has suggested.
"It can go up or down as far as I'm concerned," Gobin said, "but as long as I'm giving them good information on which to base those decisions, I'll feel like I've done my duty."
The eighth manager of Lebanon Airport in less than four years, Gobin, a local business consultant, started there in April after the former manager was unexpectedly fired. Gobin said that within a month or so, studies that examine the airline passenger and general aviation markets, the airport's economic impact in the Upper Valley and the airport's physical assets will be complete.
Gobin recently received results of a research project conducted by first-year business students at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business.
The students compared Lebanon Airport to six similar airports throughout the country and made recommendations based on their findings.
According to Gobin, the students recommended converting vacant restaurant space in the passenger terminal into meeting space and opening a food counter with a catering service. They also recommended that city officials gain a better understanding of air travel demand patterns and suggested leasing trucks and other physical assets to optimize revenue.
Gobin said the students' report is "at least directional, but it's certainly not conclusive." He said once the other studies are finished, future possibilities for the airport would become clearer.
"It's all going to unfold in the next month or so," he said.
WEST LEBANON -- After three months on the job, the interim manager of Lebanon Airport says he and his staff are making great strides in improving the airport's turbulent financial situation...
Lebanon Airport hopes the new construction will bring in increased revenue from leases, fuel and fees from aircraft based at the airport.
The plan was publicly presented for the first time Thursday at the city of Hayward Council Airport Committee meeting.