A proposed hike in landing fees at Logan International Airport in Boston could end up putting the Vineyard's main airline carrier, CapeAir, out of business, its chief executive said.

Known as "peak period pricing," the proposal under consideration by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport), the agency that runs Logan, would raise landing fees at the Boston airport during peak hours from $25 to $300 or $400 per landing.

CapeAir's chief executive officer Dan Wolf said the fees would sink his airline, which was started back in 1989 and connects the Vineyard to airports in Boston, Hyannis and Nantucket on a year-round basis.

"The impact on regional air transportation could be devastating," Mr. Wolf told the Gazette this week. "This is potentially a real show-stopper."

He said that 35 per cent of the airline's revenue comes from the Boston service. "To take that revenue off the table would call into question our ability to survive," he added.

CapeAir communications director Michelle Haynes said the regional airline transports about 95,000 passengers a year to and from the Vineyard. CapeAir also employs more than 40 people on the Island and offers hourly flights from the Vineyard airport during the summer.

The proposal from Massport to increase landing fees is part of a mandated report to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) detailing management plans to build a sixth runway and alleviate flight delays caused by excessive northwest winds. This week, Massport spokesperson Barbara Platt said that the report won't be filed until late spring or early summer.

Massport is still assessing the impact of recommendations such as fee hikes, but legislators are already pressing the transportation agency to exempt CapeAir from the massive increases in landing fees.

This week, Cape and Islands Sen. Robert O'Leary issued a press release, announcing his opposition to the higher fees and outlining his efforts to rally state leaders behind efforts to protect regional air transportation between Logan Airport and the Cape and Islands.

"These surcharges are likely to result in a substantial loss of service between Logan Airport, Cape Cod and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, with some routes losing service altogether," the press release stated.

Yesterday, Senator O'Leary told the Gazette that the situation is urgent and that he is also counting on help from the region's federal representatives to block any moves from Massport to impose the new surcharges on CapeAir.

"The quality of life and economic viability of the more remote Cape and Island communities depend on a balance of air, marine and surface transportation alternatives," said Senator O'Leary in the written statement. "If this change goes into effect, we could lose hundreds of jobs on the Cape and Islands. We need to do something or we are going to lose this critical service. It's just unacceptable."

This week, Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce board member Linda Malcouronne sounded the same alarm, arguing in a letter to the editor in today's Gazette that the end of year-round airline service to the Island would be a blow to the tourist-based economy.

Sen. O'Leary also said that the airline service is a vital link for people who need transportation to medical services in and around Boston.

It's unclear just how much sway legislators will have over Massport. Ms. Platt, the agency's spokesperson, downplayed the urgency of the management plan that might propose hefty surcharges.

She said that the new fees would only be implemented when a sixth runway was built, and the additional runway would only be approved if Logan exceeds a certain threshold of delayed flights.

Still, the CapeAir CEO isn't taking any chances that this is a fight for his airline's survival. Mr. Wolf said that Massport needs to understand the unique situation faced by CapeAir, which often flies nine-seater airplanes up to Logan.

"If their plan doesn't address this nuance, we're really going to end up under the bus on this," he said.

"What's frustrating to us is that we've been serving Boston for 15 years, and from the Vineyard, there's a veritable graveyard of airlines that tried to serve this market," Mr. Wolf continued. "Now there's an airline that gets the formula, and a state agency wants to impose something that jeopardizes that."

CapeAir, which is based in Hyannis, flies 500,000 passengers a year and takes in $35 million in annual revenue.