March 1, 2017

Editorial: A double dose of good news for Worcester Regional Airport

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Wikimedia Commons/Terageorge

Worcester Regional Airport

One thing, at least, is immediately apparent in the aftermath of yesterday’s announcement that JetBlue Airways will add service to New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport from Worcester Regional Airport: the psychological importance the development has in New England’s second-largest city.

Officials said the once-daily flight will commence after the installation of a category III instrument landing system comes online. The system is critical to ensuring on-time reliability, allowing planes to land in reduced visibility. It is scheduled to be online in early December.

Building on the success of serving roughly 380,000 passengers to and from Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since November 2013, JetBlue will begin service to the nation’s fifth-busiest airport.

This opens a world of possibilities.

In addition to myriad international and domestic flights on other airlines, JFK is JetBlue’s hub. The airline offers domestic nonstop service to 34 new cities outside of New England [see list below] as well as nonstop service throughout the Caribbean.

As a convenience, Worcester will be hard to beat. Those with a calculator, who wish to save upwards of $25 per day on parking in addition to drive time and the hassle of long lines, will also find Worcester Regional Airport an attractive option.

As an added destination for travelers from the Worcester area, JFK is a home run.

However, inasmuch as yesterday’s announcement was psychologically important for travelers from the area, we believe that in the long run the economic importance of the deal will be measured as much by those who will travel from here as those whose travel to Worcester will be made much easier.

Once service to JFK begins, Worcester will be a direct or one-stop flight from seven of the 10 largest cities in the United States. In addition, Worcester will be connected to five of the 10 cities with the fastest growing economies.

That is not lost on Timothy P. Murray, president and CEO of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and longtime airport advocate.

“You think about Hanover Insurance, and their continued growth and expansion,” Murray told the Sun Tuesday afternoon, “and think about Unum, you think about our manufacturing base here that exports across the globe, the fact that they can be at Worcester Airport and then at JFK within two hours, and then anywhere around the globe, that’s a huge opportunity. And vice versa.

“It further connects Worcester in ways that make us more competitive in the global economy.”

We believe connecting businesses and people directly with Worcester, without the necessity of doing so through Boston, makes Worcester stronger and can lead to increased investment and economic development.

In the long run, we believe the value of making it easier to come to Worcester is as valuable as making it easier to travel from Worcester.

JetBlue U.S. nonstop routes outside New England from JFK (New York):

Arizona

Phoenix

California

Burbank

Long Beach

Los Angeles

Oakland

Palm Springs

Sacramento

San Diego

San Francisco

San Jose

Colorado

Denver

Florida

Daytona Beach

Fort Myers

Jacksonville

Sarasota

Tampa

Illinois

Chicago

Louisiana

New Orleans

Nevada

Las Vegas

Reno/Lake Tahoe

New Mexico

Albuquerque/Sante Fe

New York

Buffalo

Rochester

Syracuse

North Carolina

Charlotte

Raleigh/Durham

Oregon

Portland

South Carolina

Charleston

Savannah/Hilton Head

Texas

Austin

Houston

Utah

Salt Lake City

Washington

Seattle

Washington, D.C.

Dulles

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