Massport's efforts to boost regional air traffic at Worcester Regional Airport are resulting in thousands of passengers flying through the regional facility. Since beginning service at Worcester in February, Delta-ASA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines, is reporting an average load factor of 73% on their twice-daily flights to Atlanta from Worcester. This exceeds their system-wide average load factors of 65%. The news comes just weeks after Massport kicked-off a $150,000 multi-media ad campaign to promote use of Worcester Airport.
"Delta's numbers at Worcester prove that our effort to regionalize air service is paying off," said Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham. This just reinforces our belief that with the right airlines and the right air service, the people of Central Massachusetts will come back to Worcester Regional Airport."
Since the start of Delta /ASA service at Worcester four months ago, the airline has carried over 15,137 passengers. USAirways Express/Allegheny, the other scheduled carrier at Worcester, has also seen a jump in their passenger numbers in the last four months, carrying a total of 14,974 passengers.
Massport took over operation of Worcester Airport on January 15, 2000 under an agreement aimed at reviving the underutilized facility. Since then, two major airlines, Delta/ASA and American Eagle, have announced new service to Atlanta and New York, respectively. Currently, Massport officials are marketing the regional airport and meeting with representatives of airlines operating out of Logan to highlight Worcester Airport as an option.
In addition, Massport launched an ad campaign in May with the headline "Even Worcester Airport has delays. 5 minutes to park, 2 minutes to check in." The ads are aimed building awareness about the new service and added convenience of using Worcester Airport; the campaign is targeted to potential passengers within 25 miles of the airport. The three-month campaign will be displayed at area cinemas and local newspapers and radio stations.
To maintain the momentum, Massport recently hired a marketing manager, based in Worcester, charged with promoting the regional airport to airlines, travel agents, and local businesses and residents.
Massport is tapping into the nearly one million people in the Worcester market area who generate approximately 2 million trips per year. In 1999, the airport served fewer than 50,000 passengers --- less than three percent of the region's demand for air service.
In marketing Worcester Airport, Massport is building on the success seen at regional airports in Manchester and Providence - the two fastest growing airports in the nation in 1997 and 1998, which have grown at about 40 percent. While regional airports are booming, Logan's growth has declined to about two percent a year. Increased service at Worcester and a new runway at Logan will improve the efficiency of New England's regional transportation system.