Best of 2018 – ‘Something new is in the air’

City and state officials, along with representatives of Massport and American Airlines, celebrate the airline coming to Worcester.
photo/Bonnie Adams

American Airlines to offer flights out of Worcester Regional Airport

By Bonnie Adams
Managing Editor

Worcester – This fall, American Airlines, Inc. will become the second major commercial airline to operate at the Worcester Regional Airport, offering daily flights to and from Philadelphia International Airport (PHL).  The announcement was made at an early morning press conference April 9 at the airport which was attended by dozens of local and state officials, as well as representatives of the airline.

Starting Oct. 4, passengers can travel on 50-seat Embraer 145 jets to PHL at 9:30 a.m. each day. Flights to Worcester will leave Philadelphia at 8 a.m. Each flight will be a little over an hour long.

JetBlue, which currently offers nonstop flights to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, will start adding service to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City in early May.

Speaking at the press conference April 9 Worcester County Sheriff Lewis Evangelidis, who also serves as the Massachusetts Port Authority Board of Directors, which owns the airport, noted that Worcester was the second fastest growing county in the state, with an estimated 450,00 passengers traveling to and from the airport.

Looking back to when JetBlue came to Worcester in 2013 was like when “we drafted Bill Belichick,” he said.

“We’ll look back on this day as when we drafted Tom Brady,” he added. “It’s a great day for the city of Worcester.”

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito noted she was “so very proud of the tremendous effort that we as a team have accomplished,” in working towards attracting American Airlines.

The addition of American would benefit the many students who studied at the varied Central Mass. colleges and universities as well, she said, as they traveled back and forth to the region.

Initial reports indicated, she said, that over $396 million would be generated in economic development by the airport in the next 10 years. Speaking to American Airlines officials in attendance she said “we will make this a place worthy of your investment and we pledge that we will work with you and invest in you.”

Patrick Bowes, American’s manager of corporate real estate, said by flying to PHL, Worcester passengers would have access to one of the airline’s largest hubs, with the ability to connect to 115 destinations in 20 countries.

In the early 2000s, the Worcester Regional Airport was struggling so much; officials feared it would end up closing before it was bought by Massport. Significant investments, in particular the installation of a new $32 million Category III landing system which allows aircraft to land in low-visibility conditions, was critical in helping to attract the two airlines.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus noted that much like the city, the airport too had undergone a renaissance of sorts.

“You can’t have a great city without a great airport,” he added.

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