WORCESTER – On Friday Worcester Regional Airport (ORH) celebrated its service of more than 300,000 passengers with a “Wings for Autism” event in the morning and the main event of a plane pull competition in the afternoon. JetBlue flies daily flights from Worcester to Orlando International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida and in its first year flew over 100,000 passengers, and that number continues to climb.
“Today is an important day of celebration for the Worcester Regional Airport and the communities of Central Massachusetts,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are grateful to our partners at JetBlue for helping us achieve such an important milestone, and for aiding in the development of this region through airport access, capital investments, local spending and job creation.”
Before the plane pull competition, Massport and the Charles River Foundation facilitated a “Wings for Autism” event where families with children on the autism spectrum are able to have a “dress rehearsal” of the airport experience. The event is designed to help ease the stress that often accompanies flying, and because JetBlue donated the plane for the day, Massport and the airline were able to utilize it beyond just the plane pull. Over 80 people participated in this “Wings for Autism” event. It was the first time such an event was held at Worcester Regional and 12
th time overall that Massport has held the event.
“We are very pleased to have reached this important milestone in the ongoing partnership between JetBlue and Massport, as well as our Worcester partners that are always encouraging travelers to take advantage of the service and convenience of Worcester Regional Airport,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “Worcester Regional Airport is an invaluable asset to Central Massachusetts and we will continue to work on improvements.”
In the afternoon following the “Wings for Autism” event, Massport held the day’s main event: the plane pull competition. Co-ed teams of up to 25 people tried to pull a JetBlue aircraft 30 feet as fast as they could. While there was no registration fee, donations to participate were suggested and Massport will go on to match participating team donations. The money raised will be going toward Seven Hills, a local organization that serves children on the autism spectrum. The plane pull serves as a fun and appropriate way to commemorate this momentous occasion for both Massport and Worcester Regional Airport.
Worcester Airport is conveniently located in the heart of Central Massachusetts and offers a modern, spacious terminal, easy curbside drop off and pick up, free WiFi, full service food and beverage, and accessible $7 daily or $42 weekly parking. Massport will soon be installing a new Category III instrument landing system at the airport to make the airport even safer for its customers and carriers, and continue its ongoing level of great service.
At its peak in 1989, Worcester Airport served more than 340,000 people and between 2009 and 2012, 250,000 people chose Worcester Airport. 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. A Massachusetts Department of Transportation economic impact study found that Worcester Regional Airport contributes $51.5 million to the regional economy.
Worcester Regional Airport, located in the heart of Central Massachusetts and owned/operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority, includes a $15.7 million passenger terminal and over $12 million worth of airside improvements such as lighting systems, navigational aids and a new control tower. ORH serves Worcester County, the second fastest growing county in Massachusetts, along with the Boston Metro West region and the bustling Interstate 495 corridor. The facility offers travelers comfort and accessibility and features four jet way gates, two ramp level gates, baggage carousels, a TSA installed passenger and baggage screening system, and extensive general aviation services and amenities including a fixed-base operator.
@FlyWorcester and @Massport on Twitter for more information and updates.