The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced the start of new air service from Worcester Regional Airport to Orlando/Sanford and Punta Gorda (Ft. Myers), Florida beginning Saturday, November 22. The new air service will be offered by Direct Air. Direct Air will use Airbus A-320 aircraft leased from Virgin America. The aircraft, with 8 first class seats and 141 coach class all leather seats, offers plasma television, touch service screens, satellite radio and telephone and computer connectivity at each seat. The flights will be staffed by Virgin America flight crews.
"Today's announcement is good news for the City of Worcester and the region," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We must continue to work together to promote the airport in a manner that maximizes its future potential to generate economic growth and opportunity."
Direct Air currently provides service between Myrtle Beach, S.C. and Columbus, OH; Newark, N. J.; Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Plattsburgh, N.Y.; and Pittsburgh, PA and has carried more than 187,000 passengers since the start of operations in March 2007. The company will begin offering airfares from Worcester at $99 each way with first Class seats available for a $100 upgrade each way and as part of their opening celebration, Direct Air plans to offer special introductory rates. Tickets can be purchased by going to www.visitdirectair.com or by calling 1-877-432-DIRECT (3473).
"I'm very pleased with the return of commercial air service to Worcester," said U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern. "Providing passengers with affordable airfares to desirable destinations is critical. I will continue to work to make sure the federal government is a partner in providing Worcester Airport the resources it needs to be successful."
"Massport welcomes Direct Air to Worcester and we are excited that they have chosen us to launch their new and exciting service to the popular Florida destinations," said Massport CEO and Executive Director Thomas J. Kinton, Jr. "Worcester Regional Airport is an important tool to promote the long-term growth of Central Massachusetts, is a key component of the regional air transportation system, and a valuable aviation asset."
Although exact dates of service have yet to be announced, plans are in place to offer service in the Spring of 2009 from Worcester Regional Airport to Myrtle Beach, S.C., a popular golf destination and where the airline is headquartered.
"Direct Air has built a strong niche service in developing secondary airports," said Judy Tull, CEO of Direct Air. "We're confident that we can rebuild the once-popular flights from Worcester Regional Airport with our service featuring direct flights, nonstop service, low fares and convenient departure times."
"Worcester has long been seeking scheduled air service, and we're pleased to be part of the solution." states Ed Warneck, President of Direct Air. "Direct Air is committed to providing safe, reliable air service with convenient and unique vacation packages. We are confident that the new, award-winning Virgin America aircraft and six weekly non-stop flights will appeal to a broad range of travelers seeking to travel quickly, and at a reasonable rate."
To promote the new air service, Massport and the City of Worcester will utilize federal grant money available to the airport through the Small Community Air Service Development Grant. The grant allows the airport to spend up to $300,000 to promote service from the airport.
Worcester Regional Airport is owned by the City of Worcester and operated by Massport. Worcester Regional Airport serves Worcester County, the second fastest growing county in Massachusetts, along with the Boston Metro West region and the bustling Interstate 495 corridor. Worcester Regional Airport offers travelers comfort and accessibility and features four jet way gates, two ramp level gates, baggage carousels and a TSA installed passenger and baggage screening system.
Schedule Effective November 22nd
Depart Arrive Depart Depart Day of Week Worcester Punta Gorda 5:15 pm 8:11 pm Thu, Sat, Sun Punta Gorda Worcester 7:00 am 9:50 am Thu, Sat, Sun Worcester Orlando, Sanford 10:35 am 1:05 pm Thu, Sat, Sun Orlando, Sanford Worcester 2:00 pm 4:17pm Thu, Sat, Sun