NEW BEDFORD- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has officially certified the New Bedford Regional Airport to allow an increase of larger and commercial aircraft use on its runways.

The airport received certification after completing a set of FAA regulations that all airports must adhere to in order to allow the larger aircraft, called "139 certification". New Bedford Regional Airport previously held 139-certification until the 1990's.

The certification will permit the regional-airport to now accommodate larger private and commercial planes that seat more than nine passengers, making new routes commercially viable. The New Bedford Regional Airport is allowed planes large enough to seat ninety passengers, but anticipates aircraft large enough to seat fifty passengers on is runways. This will allow for flights to and from larger airports in larger cities such as New York City, Providence, and Boston.

Mayor Jon Mitchell made the announcement alongside Chairman of New Bedford Regional Airport Commission Paul Barton and Aviation Director Scott Servis during a press conference on Wednesday.

During the announcement, the mayor took the time to explain the impact that the FAA-certification will have on the city. The mayor spoke of how the change will make New Bedford be seen as a “real city”, as it will attract more visitors and business to the city to stand out as a major metropolitan area.

“New Bedford needs to be seen by its residents and by the rest of the world as a real-city. New Bedford is not just another community along the southern coast of Massachusetts. It is a real city with real metropolitan area, with real suburbs and real economic assets,” Mitchell said.

“We have a market here that can draw from the wider region, that can support air-service to a number of areas around the country and continue to put New Bedford on the map.”

Mayor Mitchell also explained that the addition of commercial flights to the city would significantly reduce travel time from the airport for those seeking Cape Cod & the Islands, the city of New Bedford, and surrounding areas. It would also reduce the drive time for somebody traveling out of New Bedford, according to the mayor.

“New Bedford is situated very advantageously geographically. So in order for somebody from New Bedford to take a flight anywhere, say [T.F.] Green airport, you got to drive through Providence first and that’s no mean feat. Never mind Logan Airport that’s on the other side of Boston some sixty-five miles away,” the mayor said.

New Bedford Regional Airport joins twenty-two other airports out of more than 200 that hold 139-certification in New England. It joins the list of other 139-certified airports after showing steady economical gains in the past few years, including $32.4-million it generated in local economic activity for the city in 2015, and a $10.6-million payroll for the 297 private and public jobs it supports.

Chairman of New Bedford Regional Airport Commission Paul Barton says that he expects larger planes to begin operating at the airport in roughly sixty-days. Setting up advertisers, replacing the 74-year old terminal, and seeking out a rental car company to accommodate the airport is expected to be addressed in the near future, amongst other factors.

Aviation Director Scott Servis says that certifying the airport to add Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers and their screening equipment is the next step in the expansion of the airport.






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