State aeronautics officials in New Hampshire plan to reclassify Dillant-Hopkins Airport in Keene and Swanzey as a national airport, demonstrating its significance not only to the state of New Hampshire but also the National Airspace System.
The FAA classifies general aviation airports – ones that host all flights except for airline and military – as national, regional, local or basic, based on their aircraft operational counts and the type of aircraft they host.
Dillant-Hopkins, which is currently classified as a regional airport by the FAA, was designed to serve Keene and the Monadnock Region, but an upcoming report on the state’s airport system indicates its influence has the potential to be greater than that in the future.
The change wouldn’t affect day-to-day operations for the airport, but could help justify better intermodal connections and open new doors for increased economic development in the communities it serves, according to Carol Niewola, a senior aviation planner with the state Bureau of Aeronautics.
“One of the things that the categorization of general aviation airports does is help identify its role within the national airport system,” Niewola said. “The airport could actually play a larger role under the new category.”