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Unlike many airports, Portland and Bangor won't reduce flights this summer

Portland International Jetport
Pat Wellenbach
/
AP
In this Sept. 7, 2011 photo, work is near completion of a colorful, $75 million passenger terminal at the Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine.

Airlines, short of pilots, are reducing flights this summer. It's expected to make airline seats harder to find and more expensive. But Maine's two major airports will buck that trend.

In Portland, Jetport Manager Paul Bradbury says there will be a record number of seats on flights this summer.

"We're a really important market," Bradbury says, noting that leisure travelers are still driving the comeback in air travel.

The pilot shortage is most acute for smaller, regional airlines that often serve smaller markets. But Bradbury says Portland "is just big enough to really take advantage of the larger aircraft."

Figures show airlines will have over 150,000 seats for air travelers in July and August, the first time that level of capacity has been reached.

Last year, airlines tried out new, non-stop routes to Portland, hoping to lure tourists who wanted to come to Maine. Airport manager Bradbury says most of those routes have been discontinued, but the airport now serves 26 locations around the country. There are non-stop flights from Portland as far south as Miami and as far west as Dallas, Denver, and Minneapolis.

At Bangor International Airport, manager Anthony Caruso says his airport is also avoiding any reduction in capacity for the summer season.