For Immediate Release: 4/4/2013 9:41 am
Worcester, MA (April 3, 2013) - The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today joined Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Governor Timothy Murray along with JetBlue President and CEO Dave Barger to announce that JetBlue Airways will be offering one flight daily between Worcester Regional Airport and Orlando and another daily flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, starting November 7, 2013. The airline will fly 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft.
"I am proud to welcome JetBlue to Worcester, and thank the Lieutenant Governor, our partners in Worcester and at Massport for helping to make this happen," said Governor Deval Patrick. "Airports and airlines grow jobs and spur economic opportunity in our cities. This is a good day for the Commonwealth and for central Massachusetts."
Massport, Lt. Governor Murray and Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien, spent the last year in talks with JetBlue encouraging airline officials to visit Central Massachusetts to gauge community support. During each visit JetBlue executives were welcomed by delegations of business, civic and academic leaders. At one visit in August, JetBlue CEO Dave Barger said "Worcester feels very JetBlue."
"The enthusiasm of the Worcester community and the warm reception with which we've been met has been tremendous," said Dave Barger, JetBlue's President and CEO. "The addition of Worcester to our growing network speaks to our commitment to serve the great people of New England and we look forward to a long relationship with the city of Worcester and to future growth in this region."
"Central Massachusetts and the Commonwealth are thrilled to welcome JetBlue to Worcester Regional Airport," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "It has been a pleasure working with Dave Barger and his team over the last year to not only highlight the many assets this region and the airport have to offer but also engage them with the business community and residents. We look forward to launching service in November and continuing a strong working relationship with JetBlue."
Massport, working with the Patrick-Murray Administration, acquired Worcester Regional Airport in 2010 from the City for more than $15 million; since then the Authority has invested $8.9 million in capital to improve the airside and landside facilities.
"JetBlue's commitment to the Worcester market demonstrates that Worcester Regional Airport is a wise investment that can and will be a vibrant facility for years to come," said Congressman Jim McGovern. "This announcement is good for JetBlue, it's good for the Worcester region and it's good for the Commonwealth."
Massport's Air Service Incentive Program for Worcester Airport will allow the airline to participate in cooperative marketing efforts with the Authority and receive rebates on airport fees and charges for two years. The value of the program is $150,000 for marketing and approximately $275,000 in rebates. Massport offers the Air Service Incentive Program to allow Worcester to compete with other airports vying for passenger service. Massport offers a similar program at Boston Logan International Airport to attract new international service to select markets.
"The Massachusetts Port Authority, working with the Patrick-Murray Administration, is committed to giving travel options to residents," said Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey, who chairs the Massport Board. "This new service will provide the best alternative for residents of the I-495 corridor and west heading to Florida, as well as the most direct way for Floridians to enjoy all the heart of this state has to offer. Like Central Massachusetts itself, this airport is on the move."
Last month Massport announced it was moving forward with a parallel taxiway and installing a Category III instrument landing system at the airport. Both are needed for the long-term growth of the facility and to make a safe facility even safer.
"Massport means business in Worcester and we believe Worcester Regional Airport is an important asset that must be maintained as a commercial airport to provide Central Massachusetts with easy, convenient and safe access to the national airspace system," said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. "Massport has worked closely with our Worcester partners to bring JetBlue here and to encourage corporate and general aviation – and the jobs these businesses create – to the heart of New England."
"We are very pleased to have forged this strategic partnership with JetBlue, Massport and the Commonwealth. JetBlue is a brand synonymous with positives such as excellent service, affordability, reliability and loyalty. It is all about their customer and their customer's experience. We love those qualities. They reflect the DNA of our City and region," said Worcester City Manager Michael V. O'Brien. "We waited and worked hard to land the best, now we have to show our support. We look forward to Worcester County and beyond flying JetBlue out of Worcester for the convenience and all JetBlue represents. That support will translate into a wonderful, long-term relationship with JetBlue and the JetBlue team. The opportunities abound and we are now poised for takeoff."
"JetBlue establishing air service at Worcester Regional Airport is a huge win for the Central and 495/MetroWest regions," said Paul Matthews, Executive Director of the MetroWest/495 Partnership. "This will improve the quality of life for residents and offer a major boost to the regional economy."
JetBlue Airways ranks first as Boston Logan's largest and fastest growing carrier, flying 20% of Boston's daily flights and carrying one-quarter of Logan's passengers in 2012. JetBlue recently announced its 49th destination from Logan with nonstop service to Houston Hobby Airport.
"It's always exciting to welcome a new airline and today's announcement is especially satisfying because the community came together and rallied behind this effort," said Massport's Aviation Director Edward C. Freni. "JetBlue's decision to come to Worcester adds a vote of confidence about the future that awaits this airport and air service in Central Massachusetts."
At its peak in 1989, Worcester Airport served more than 340,000 people and between 2009 and 2012, 250,000 people chose Worcester Airport. Worcester Regional Airport serves Worcester County, the second fastest growing county in Massachusetts, along with the Boston Metro West region and the bustling Interstate 495 corridor. A Massachusetts Department of Transportation economic impact study found that Worcester Regional Airport contributes $51.5 million to the regional economy.