As the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) continues to move ahead with its innovative regionalization strategy to reduce the burden on Logan International Airport and its neighbors, it won praise from another innovative and well-respected industry figure, Herb Kelleher. Kelleher is the chairman and chief executive of Southwest Airlines; an airline credited with bringing cheap fares and convenient service to millions of passengers by utilizing smaller, regional airports.
In The Boston Globe dated November 22, 2000, Southwest chief Herb Kelleher states that, "Massport has taken an enlightened approach. Most other airports don't talk about serving regional airports and encouraging people to use Providence and Manchester and Worcester."
In the past year, Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham has pushed for airline growth to occur at regional airports around New England to ease the pressure on Logan and provide consumers with more choices, closer to their homes or businesses. Massport took a precedent-setting step when it began advertising airports in other states, such as T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island and Manchester Airport in New Hampshire.
In addition, Massport reintroduced commercial air service out of Hanscom Field in Bedford and invested more than $1 million this year in revitalizing Worcester Regional Airport. Buckingham has been meeting with executives from all the major airlines urging them to initiate service from the Central Massachusetts facility. So far, two new airlines have begun operating from the underutilized airport and passenger loads are expected to double this year.