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$7.8 million in earmarked federal funds headed to Manchester airport cargo project

Manchester’s airport is set to receive almost $7.9 million from the Federal Aviation Administration to continue the expansion of its air cargo facility.

The air cargo facility is being developed with the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and a private company, Aeroterm, which has developed dozens of air cargo terminals around the country. The expansion is expected to nearly double the airport’s cargo capacity.

The funding, $7,871,429, was written into the omnibus federal spending bill signed into law this spring. The money for the Manchester airport was one of the “congressional directed spending requests,” or earmarks, written into the bill.

The money will pay for a nearly eight-acre apron for airplane parking.

The new facility is expected to approximately double Manchester’s cargo capacity, which airport officials have said will be in ever-higher demand as people buy more online and less locally.

Airport director Ted Kitchens said in 2021 that online shopping and demand for ever-faster shipping would keep demand for air cargo high. Kitchens said proximity to distribution centers — including Amazon distribution centers in Hooksett, Hudson and Kingston — would make flying goods into Manchester attractive for shippers.

Kitchens also said that the increase in air cargo in 2020, from all the online shopping, helped offset some of the airport’s losses from cancelled flights and travel plans at the height of the pandemic.

“This new cargo facility apron will improve the transport of air cargo and lower transportation costs, while supporting local businesses and creating good-paying jobs in the process,” Sen. Jeanne Shaheen said in a statement announcing the federal funding. “This is a smart investment in our state’s transportation and infrastructure.”

The Manchester air cargo facility will face a little less competition in the future, after developers announced they would stop pursuing an air cargo facility at the Portsmouth International Airport at Pease, after Seacoast residents raised concerns about noise and traffic.