Passenger milestone commemorated with “Runway Relay Challenge”
WORCESTER – Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Congressman Jim McGovern joined local officials, community members and the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today to help celebrate more than 500,000 passengers being served by JetBlue at Worcester Regional Airport (ORH). To celebrate this milestone and the continued growth Worcester Regional has experienced, Massport hosted a Runway Relay 5K on one of ORH’s runways. On Thursday morning, JetBlue’s new daily nonstop service from ORH to New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport begins.
Since 2013, JetBlue has been operating daily flights from Worcester to Orlando International Airport and Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida and serving over half a million passengers along the way. Tomorrow, JetBlue begins daily service to JFK, connecting Central Massachusetts to direct service to more than 95 destinations in over 50 countries. The flight schedule also allows both business and leisure travelers to make an easy day trip to or from New York City.
“Today’s event brought together teams from across Central Massachusetts for a friendly competition to celebrate the growth Worcester Regional Airport, and the region as a whole, has experienced since JetBlue began service here in 2013,” said Worcester County Sheriff and Chairman of the Massport Board of Directors Lew Evangelidis. “The future for ORH looks bright with the addition of service to New York and Philadelphia and I’m proud to be part of such a dedicated team of local, state and federal partners that have brought this great success to our area.”
In addition, last month, American Airlines, the largest airline in the world, announced plans to operate daily service between Worcester and Philadelphia beginning this October; which will connect Central Massachusetts to one of the largest airline hubs in the country and dozens of domestic and international destinations.
“Today I’m proud to celebrate the incredible milestone of more than 500,000 passengers served by JetBlue at Worcester Regional Airport,” said Congressman Jim McGovern. “In recent years, Worcester Airport has pumped more than $350 million into our economy, made it easier for our community to travel, and helped to make our region a more attractive place for businesses to invest in. This milestone is a clear sign that Worcester Airport is on the rise. I look forward to all the success to come as we continue our partnership with Massport to keep Worcester Airport strong and growing.”
Congressman Jim McGovern (D- MA) has been a major advocate for investment in Worcester Regional Airport for many years and has played a significant role in moving the CAT III project forward by helping to secure important resources to bring this project to realization.
“The continued growth of Worcester Regional Airport has been a priority for Massport since we took ownership in 2010 and we are excited to see that over half a million people have utilized it since JetBlue began flights in 2013,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn. “With the addition of service to JFK tomorrow and American Airlines’ route to Philadelphia in October, we are pleased to see our investments resulting in even more options for our customers.”
These new service options are a result of recent investments made by Massport since taking ownership of ORH in 2010. Most significantly, the completion earlier this year of the new Category III (CAT III) instrument landing system. This $30 million investment made by Massport has brought a new level of operability and reliability to Worcester Regional by allowing for landings in low visibility weather conditions. The system is operated and maintained by the Federal Aviation Administration.
“Reaching a milestone like 500,000 passengers served adds to the great momentum for Worcester Airport and its exciting future. The investment Massport has made to the Worcester Airport shows their commitment to Central Massachusetts and the dedication of our federal delegation, led by Congressman McGovern, has brought us to this moment of celebration as we look forward to the start of new services in the coming months,” said State Representatives Kate Campanale, John Mahoney, Jim O’Day and Dan Donohue.
This is the third year in a row Massport, Lt. Governor Polito and the Worcester community has taken part in a friendly competition. In 2015, a “plane pull” was held and last year a “Runway Relay Challenge” with various physical challenges was held. This year, co-ed teams of five from the Worcester County Sheriff’s Office, Worcester Police Department, Worcester Fire Department, members of the Worcester media, as well as the Worcester Railers, Bravehearts and Pirates all participated to celebrate this latest milestone.
“The City of Worcester is truly the heart of Massachusetts and investments from Massport and the Baker-Polito Administration in the Worcester Regional Airport has enabled us to see over 500,000 passengers served,” said Mayor Joe Petty of Worcester. “The support of Congressman McGovern and further investments from Massport has brought us to this day of celebration and new service to New York City and Philadelphia, opening up our great region to the world.”
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.
“The heart of the Commonwealth is beating stronger than ever and that is thanks in part to our partners in the state and federal government who have shown their belief in all that Central Massachusetts has to offer with continued investment in connecting Worcester to the world,” said Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. “Today we mark a truly significant milestone for both the airport and the region and I’m excited to see where we can all go together in the future.”
Conveniently located in the heart of Central Massachusetts, ORH offers a modern, spacious terminal, easy curbside drop-off and pick-up, free WiFi, full service food and beverage, and $7 daily or $42 weekly parking. Worcester Regional Airport opened in 1946 and has been providing commercial aviation services in Worcester for over 70 years.