Portsmouth, New Hampshire, International Airport at Pease terminal is seen in this Portsmouth Herald file photo. Credit: File | Portsmouth Herald

PORTSMOUTH, New Hampshire — The Pease Development Authority is negotiating with “multiple companies” about the possibility of locating an aviation cargo operation at Pease, PDA Executive Director David Mullen said Tuesday morning.

“We’ve been down this route before, but I think there are definitely cargo opportunities out there that we might be able to take advantage of,” Mullen said. “It really is premature to say much specifically but it would be a cargo facility development.”

The PDA has long sought to add either a second airline at Portsmouth International Airport at Pease or some other aviation-related industry. The Pease property was the former Pease Air Force Base, which closed as a military facility in 1991 and has been in civilian redevelopment and reuse since.

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Allegiant Airlines is the only airline that now files out of Pease, although it has added multiple routes and destinations over the past few years.

Mullen believes the airport is in a good position to add an aviation cargo facility at Pease because cargo operations in Boston have become strained as the number of passenger flights in and out of Logan International Airport continues to grow.

“There is an opportunity to create something here that would make sense for the region,” Mullen said. “We have multiple prospective companies we’ve been talking to and we have a tremendous asset here with terrific capacity and access.”

Mullen’s comments came Tuesday after the Portsmouth City Council voted unanimously Monday night to add North Apron Road, which is located off Arboretum Drive, to the city’s municipal services agreement with the PDA.

Both Mullen and City Manager John Bohenko, who serves on the PDA’s board of directors, said if it comes to fruition the new development would be located on about 40 acres of land off North Apron Road.

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Seacoast Helicopters is also seeking to open a new facility there, but both Mullen and Bohenko said that company would only need about two acres for its new home.

Bohenko too pointed to the “other potential development in that area that could be something that would be quite exciting if it materializes.”

“It’s not just a helicopter issue,” Bohenko said Monday. “It’s other development.”

The city will now be responsible for plowing and maintaining North Apron Road, but will receive additional revenue under the municipal services agreement, Bohenko said.

Both the road and any new developments will be located in the Newington portion of the airport, Mullen said.

He noted the PDA could have brought the request to the City Council sooner, but “it is now a critical part of our current marketing plan for the North Apron that PDA be able to identify public access to this site.”

“As we are negotiating with multiple parties for aeronautical development, we do anticipate that successful development is imminent and wish to be able to accurately represent the status of access to the property,” Mullen said in a letter to the City Council. “As you are aware, all development of this parcel, located in the town of Newington, will pay to the city a municipal service fee covering in full the municipal and county portion of the city of Portsmouth’s tax obligations.”

Mullen declined to release any more details about the companies the PDA is negotiating with, but said he could have more news about the development “in July or August.”

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