You ever have anyone ask you to do something or go somewhere, then after you commit you then realize the person that asked you had an ulterior motive to invite you??? Do not get me wrong having Worcester Airport (ORH) to JFK (T5), the hub for JetBlue to connect to any destination they serve, is an incredible accomplishment for Worcester!! I could not be happier.
Next year you will be able to take a Friday off, get up early, park for $7 per day, have a 5 minute check-in, a 15-20 minute flight to JFK and then connect to, for example, Las Vegas. Then come return late Sunday night to Worcester from Las Vegas through JFK and be back home in 15 minutes after landing. How good is that!!!
Do you have any idea how much time and money this will save you versus if you had decided to go to Las Vegas out of Boston, Providence, Hartford or Manchester? This is an incredible opportunity for Central Massachusetts and I am sure that we will support this route, just like we have Orlando (MCO) and Fort Lauderdale (FLL). All day I could not help, however, but see some of the ironies. The same people, who were saying how this announcement today was a “game changer, will say we should stay in the:
- Convention Center business
- Train Station business
- Golf course business
These businesses that are not core “essential” business for the City of Worcester and conservatively lose us between $2,500,000 to $3,000,000 per year. The airport would have only added another $1,000,000 to $1,500,000 to these losses, if the City of Worcester stayed in the airport business. The true “game changer’ was that we got out of the airport business, not today’s announcement. Do you really think we ever would have seen this “game changer’, if the City of Worcester remained in the airport business. Not a f—— chance!!!
Better yet do you think these same people, who showed up today for the announcement, will be at City Council next week recommending that we get out of these other “untouchable” businesses? Massport took this liability to the taxpayers of Worcester and are turning it into an asset, while spending approximately $50,000,000 of their money to make the infrastructure improvements, that we never would have been able to afford or do. While we had ownership of the airport, we spent millions on studies for access roads and name changes and I am sure we will continue to spend millions on studies and consultants on these other “untouchables” and will only continue to lose more money.
At the same time Massport did not become the behemoth that they have become by being stupid. Think about it, when they were our partner subsidizing our deficits, did they recommend CAT III? No, they sat back and helped us pay the bills, until they could get ownership. Then, and only then, did they say CAT III. I do not blame them, they are good businessmen and women.
This leads me back to my opening line and I got to ask, why an announcement now? At best maybe one year away (early 2018), why announce today? Remember that uneasy feeling when you realized that you were invited, because the person who invited you had an ulterior motive?? Got a feeling that maybe JetBlue and Massport got something else cooking in Boston and we are the beneficiaries.
I am fine with that. If we can get a Worcester to JFK route out of this, I will take that too the bank all day long, but just wanted to get that out of my chest. At the same time reminding people that when we, the City of Worcester, get out of non essential businesses, and let the experts do their jobs, we can become the beneficiaries of some great things.
In closing, today was a great day for Worcester, but don’t anyone thing that this ever would have happened, if we still owned the airport. Tonight we should be grateful that Massport owns ORH turning a liability into an asset and are giving us the opportunity to show how much we will support JetBlue and our airport. Lets only hope that people will realize the same great things can happen, if we touch the other “untouchables”.
UNION STATION SCENE