There was never any reason for the City of Worcester to own an airport and the decision by Mike O’Brien to sell the airport may go done as one of his biggest achievements, other then the adoption of Section 18 which moved retirees to Medicare. It amazes us, however, that the City of Worcester does not look to do the same with other municipal assets like the Convention Center and Train Station.
Look what has transpired the last 5 years at ORH since the transfer July 1st, 2010:
- JetBlue started daily flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale since November 2013
- Flights are in the 85% load range, above JetBlue industry average
- New FBO (Fixed Base Operator), Rectrix, has come to Worcester with a brand new facilty
- 3 million dollar invested to tear down old tower to upgrade the airport’s aircraft rescue and firefighting capabilities, MassLive story
- CAT III landing system installation has been started and should be completed by next year with a cost north of $30 million
- $486,000 marketing grant from the FAA
- Worcester does not have to cover the losses on the airport which would have been between 1 to 2 million per year.
Do you think any of this would have happened, if Worcester retained ownership? Better yet what can we expect the next 5 years:
- Once Cat III is up and running, JetBlue will expand with service to Puerto Rico and the Gulf Coast
- General Aviation activity will only increase
- More airlines will enter the Worcester market
Worcester airport has come a long way the past 5 years and has a long way to go, but we are on the right path to making ORH an asset to the citizens of Worcester. Maybe an RFP for the convention center, train station or golf course should be something to consider???