The airport of Lebanon, New Hampshire is one of many small airports supported via federal funding. The flight operations – to White Plains and Boston – are subsidized as are the airport’s general operating expenses. And, thanks to a quirk in the way those subsidies are calculated, the airport and the airline are running a massive promotion for the next few days in an effort to boost their passenger count to the next threshold. For the next 3 days fares between Lebanon and White Plains or Boston are only $12. The flights to/from White Plains also include transportation to Manhattan in that rate. So many passengers are booking that the airline – Cape Air – has added additional flights to get more passengers moving.
The push comes as Lebanon tries to pass 10,000 passenger departures for the year. That’s a tiny number of passengers and seems like a rather arbitrary threshold to strive for. But in the world of federal subsidies it makes a HUGE difference. Hitting that number should see the airport’s funding jump from $150,000 to $1,000,000. With that much at stake it is rather easy to see why they’re making the push.
I’m pretty sure another airline did this a few years ago in the UK or Ireland and they caught a bit of flak from the local subsidy provider for not meeting the spirit of the subsidy. Still, I think they got their money so hard to complain too much there. UPDATE: Here’s the story I was thinking about: Getting paid to fly, plus an open bar.
Oh, and the lines are pretty awesome. If I were not on my way to Asia right now I’d be booking these.