March 09, 2006

Today's Editorial

As one of ORH's biggest fan I agree with everything in the editorial today, but how about a little reality from the editorial board?? We are 20 months into a 36 month operating agreement. Right now we are paying 15% of the operating deficit soon to be 32% starting July 1st. Based on a $2,000,000 operating deficit that equates to $640,000 starting July 1st (4 months from now). How are we going to justify closing New Ludlow Street School which would cost $300,000 to keep open but are going to be able to pay $640,000???

It gets worse. If we do not get MassPort to resign an agreement we are looking at the entire deficit in 16 months. That's right July 1, 2007, the airport will cost $2,000,000. Actually we have no idea exactly what the current deficit is since my requests to get the semi-annual (July thru December) numbers have not been answered.

Sorry, I do not mean to be negative and I agree Allegiant has been great, but the Editorial Board should be asking tough questions like 1) where is the Airport Master Plan, 2) why have we not made any more progress with other airlines, 3) whats up with Hooters Air, 4) what happened to DJ Air , 5) how are negotiations going with MassPort. I mentioned 6 months ago that the past six months would be pivotal. We landed Allegiant with one destination with a couple flights per week, again that was great news but nowhere near enough.

Here is the editorial:

Allegiant Air’s strong start bodes well for airport

Worcester seems to have landed itself a winner in Allegiant Air, and vice versa. Since it began flying passengers to and from Orlando, Fla., on Dec. 22, the airline clearly has pleased travelers and has posted some sunny statistics. By the industry measure known as “average load,” Allegiant has excelled in its inaugural months. In a report to the City Council, Julie A. Jacobson, assistant city manager for economic development and neighborhood services, said the airline’s average load on flights in and out of Worcester has been 82 percent. By comparison, the average-load figure for the industry as a whole during the 12 months that ended in September was 78 percent. She also said that Worcester Regional Airport’s on-time average in the first two months of Allegiant’s service was 76.9 percent, topping the 75.1 percent average at five other major New England airports for January.

As the statistics show, the Las Vegas-based airline has come in and done the job it said would do. Allegiant’s reliable service record, popular destination and affordable prices, along with the ease of getting to the airport, are drawing leisure travelers from well beyond Worcester and the immediate Central Massachusetts area. An Allegiant survey cited by City Manager Michael V. O’Brien shows that the airline is attracting customers from southern New Hampshire, Northeastern Connecticut and northern Rhode Island as well. A broad customer base is essential for the hoped-for takeoff of the airport itself. According to surveys, area residents would like to see flights to Las Vegas, the West Coast, Tampa, Fla., New York City, Washington, D.C., and other destinations added to the airport’s offerings.

Allegiant’s success brings this future closer. Armed with the Allegiant data, city and Massport officials can make a convincing case to other carriers that Worcester’s airport is a place in which they can prosper.

6 comments:

tim said...

I think Allegiant has gotten off to a great start and would like to see Hooters, Delta, Usa 3000, US Air to name a few to begin service soon. Any thing to help cut the deficit.

What about if we(Worcester) just sell Massport the airport? Then we don't have to worry about it any more.

Bill Randell said...

tim:

I tell you one thing... As each day goes by and the end of the current operating agreement looms, we are putting ourselves in a pretty tough negotiating position.

The tax-payers of Worcester will not allow a subsidy of $2,000,000 per year. What the next option??

Answer: We become a desperate seller and end up selling the airport for under market-value price.

Alec said...

I don't see why selling it for an under market-value price would be so bad:

-Worcester profits now from the sale price.

-Worcester has to pay no money every year just to keep the airport open.

-Worcester and the region still benefit from the economic impact.

IS THAT SO BAD???



www.worcesterairport.blogspot.com

Bill Randell said...

Alec:

Truth of the matter is I agree with you.. We really had to turn it around this past winter.

Selling the airport may be our best option... I can not justify even $640,000 this July for a couple a flights per week to Orlando, not to mention $2,000,000 per year next July.

Bill

tim said...

It sounds good to me. Sell it and be done with talking about it. Let who ever buys it worry about the deficit. Make a condition that it must remain a comercial airport. Worcester wins with a payoff and a airport to benefit the economy.

Anonymous said...

Sell it to this guy:

http://www.easy.com/stelios

He's looking to enter the US market, why not start with you OWN airport in the busiest corridor of the United States?

Something to think about.

Harry Tembenis
Worcester, MA