DERRY, N.H. — The Manchester-Boston Regional Airport is working to regain passengers.

Deputy Director J. Brian O’Neill says the airport’s fortunes soared after getting Southwest Airlines in the late 1990s, then stumbled when Logan International Airport in Boston lured competitor Jet Blue in 2004. Other low-fare airlines also went to Boston – and Southwest eventually opened shop there, too.

O’Neill spoke Friday at a Greater Derry-Londonderry Chamber of Commerce gathering. According to the Eagle-Tribune, he said the transportation changes cut the airport’s passenger count from 4.3 million seven years ago to about 2.7 million last year.

But he estimates the airport contributes about $1 billion to the economy and is responsible for creating about 3,500 jobs. He says the new airport access road and talk about improving ground transit could improve traffic.

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