Just seven months after Massport took over operation of Worcester Regional Airport, the facility has two new airlines and has already surpassed the total number of passengers served during all of 1999. So far, more than 55,000 Central Massachusetts residents and businesspeople have taken advantage of low fares and convenient service from Worcester Airport --- 6,000 more people than used the airport Worcester in all of 1999.
"The numbers at Worcester prove that our effort to regionalize air service is paying off," said Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham. "We knew that with the right airlines and the right service, the people of Central Massachusetts would come back to Worcester Regional Airport."
The first new airline to start at Worcester, Delta-ASA, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Delta Airlines, reported an average load factor of 87% on their twice-daily flights to Atlanta from Worcester during the month of July. This exceeds their system-wide average load factors. Delta-ASA has served a total of 24,400 passenger since they started service at Worcester last February.
USAirways Express/Allegheny, the only scheduled carrier operating at Worcester when Massport took over operation, has also seen a jump in their passenger numbers carrying a total of 27,384 passengers.
July also marked the entrance of Worcester's newest carrier, American Eagle. American Eagle began service to JFK Airport in New York City on July 6th. American Eagle is operating three daily round-trip flights to JFK on 34-seat Saab 340b aircraft. In the just over the three weeks that American Eagle has been operating from Worcester, they have carried nearly 2,000 passengers.
Advance sales for August look strong for all three airlines.
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. 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 also launched a three-month advertising campaign promoting Worcester Airport in May.
In marketing Worcester Airport, Massport is building on the success seen at regional airports in Manchester and Providence. 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.