Excitement is building at Worcester Regional Airport as JetBlue’s direct flights to JFK start Thursday, followed by American Airlines flights to Philadelphia in the fall.
Julio Baez-Velez of Worcester said, “Now I don’t have to go all the way into Boston.”
Miguel Pabon of Worcester added, “It’s easier, less traffic, it’s right up the street.”
As a high altitude/low visibility airport, Worcester had been limited in the past with two flights daily to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale, that were sometimes diverted due to fog.
But more than $100 million dollars in investments from MassPort since it took over the airport from the city in 2010 – including the addition of a Category III landing system – is a potential game-changer.
Worcester Regional Airport Director Andrew Davis said, “We’re investing in the airport for the long-term, and just the activity we’ve seen in just the last year is showing the dividends, we’re starting to see that increase of service.”
Even though the airport is still losing millions of dollars, experts think the future is bright for Worcester Regional Airport.
Worcester State Economics Professor Bill O’Brien said, “I think it’s a gamble that will pay off, whether it pays off next year, two years, three years down the road, I think it will and that means more flights.”
Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tim Murray says he believes as other airlines see the success they will want to compete in the Worcester market, too.
“With the success that JetBlue has had, we’ve seen commercial aviation in terms of corporate jets and things we’ve seen that grow, we’ve seen Jet Blue now expand flights,” said Murray, “I think it’s going to be a good year and hopefully there’ll be some new announcements in store.”
And that first flight to JFK will take off at 6 a.m. Thursday with a small ceremony at the airport to celebrate.