November 30, 2005

Lebanon, New Hampshire --Free Parking

US Airways Express serves Lebanon Municipal Airport with daily flights to New York's LaGuardia Airport. They have free parking also.

Check out their passenger incentive program. The long and the short of it is that if you book three tickets out of Lebanon, you get $150. If you book 5 tickets, you get $500. The funds for this rebate program came from the DOT's Small Community Air Service Program Grant, which the City of Worcester received $455,000.

Maybe the Airport Administration could learn from this. Versus spending our grant monies on consultants, maybe the a better way to get "fannies in the seats" is to use the monies on free parking and rebates??

Allegiant out of Portsmouth

Free Parking. Another secondary airport in New England that provides free parking. ORH is a secondary airport and should not be comparing themselves to Boston, Manchester, Providence or Hartford when deciding parking rates. Trenton, Maine, which has 10,000 passengers per year , and Portsmouth, NH are both better comparisons.

Both do not charge for for parking to compete with larger materopolitan airports.

Check it out. Pease International Airport.

They even have airport minutes on-line.

Portsmouth Newspaper Story

3) Flying high - After years of inconsistent flight service from Pan Am, early signs indicate that travelers are giving Allegiant Air a serious look.
Allegiant, the Las Vegas-based carrier that specializes in low-cost vacation travel, reports load capacity above 80 percent during its first month of nonstop, four-day-a-week flights between Portsmouth and Orlando, Fla., which began on Oct. 28.

"The bookings are going well," said Tyri Squyres, communications director for Allegiant. "It’s our first venture into New England, and we’re happy to say it’s been a success."

PDA Deputy Director Dave Mullen said when an airline like Allegiant comes in and succeeds, it sends a message to other carriers to come in and take a second look.

Hancock Harbor Bar Harbor Airport

Located in Trenton, ME, they had 10,000 commercial passengers last year.. Parking is free..

Maybe this is a better comparison for us to consider when reviewing rates for parking then Manchester, Boston, Providence, and Hartford.

East-West Traffic


Currently the Commonwealth is doing a study on how to improve the East-West flow of traffic across the City of Worcester. Wish they would also add a study of an exit of the MassPike onto Route 56 creating a North-South Connector enabling people West of Worcester not having to travel across the City of Worcester. Not to mention providing better access to ORH.

How would you pay for it?? The toll booth would provide increased revenues to cover the cost.

What would this do the values of properties in Leicester, Paxton?? I think a direct access to a Mass Pike exit would increase property values dramatically.

November 29, 2005

Our Model Airport, Rockford, Changes Name

Rockford Airport, the airport, that we should follow as a role model changed their name this month to you guessed it--Chicago/Rockford International. They have been able to attract second tier carriers like Allegiant/Hooters and charters like Apple Vacation to their airport. Once they established themselves with these leisure airlines, they have been able to add twice daily flights by NorthWest and will be adding United in February....

Note story below, however, that NorthWest has termed their results so far as disappointing.... Makes me wonder if secondary airports like Rockford and Worcester can only be leisure airports. Also note that Rockford has free parking and their airport director is constantly in the news touting the benefits of flying out of Rockford.

Story From Chicgo Tribune starts here:

Bob O'Brien has taken some grief for the decision to rename the airport here.It became the Chicago/Rockford International Airport this month, although it is about 90 miles from Milwaukee and South Bend, Ind., are similar distances from the city, but neither of those public airports has seen a need to add Chicago to their name.

But Rockford is close enough to the far northwest Chicago suburbs that many of its potential customers identify with it, said O'Brien, the airport's executive director. Rockford also is trying to prove it can support daily service by major carriers, even if O'Hare International Airport is within driving distance.

O'Brien calls the name switch — from Greater Rockford Airport — a reflection of changes in marketing and attitude. It also is the outgrowth of an effort to promote the airport that enabled Rockford to land what many said was impossible: twice-daily service by major airlines — United Airlines and Northwest Airlines. Rockford's success at attracting United and Northwest came after an intense effort to demonstrate that there was sufficient demand in the local market, O'Brien said.

Now, the airport must prove it can support those carriers. Northwest has been flying the route since May, and an airline representative called the first months disappointing. United is to launch its service next year. Rockford went to major carriers citing its success with smaller players, such as Hooters Air and TransMeridian Airlines. Then it offered financial guarantees to United and Northwest. Rockford used federal and local money to give Northwest a $2.8-million revenue guarantee and United a $2.5-million deal.

Today's Telegram

Many of our unanswered questions are answered today in the newspaper, including the parking system which is described as similar to that at Union Station.

First, for someone using this for the first time, it is not as easy as one may think.

Second, if I understand this correctly what happens if someone prepays for one week, puts the tag on the windshield but decideds to stay longer once they are in Florida? Are they towed?

Third, where do they buy the tag outside or inside. Either way a customer at ORH will need to, after arriving at the lot, buy a ticket wherever it is , go back to their car, hang it on the windshield and then take their bags to check-in.

November 27, 2005

December Airport Meeting

I have asked Chairman Nemeth to place the following three questions on next month's agenda:

Many of us from the Worcester InCity Partnership worked hard to ensure that we received the current DOT marketing grant, that failed in the two prior attempts. In fact, we called a meeting at Congressman McGovern's office with officials from the FAA, City Manager O'Brien, Mayor Murray and the Congressman stressing the importance of this grant. Aided mainly by the efforts of Congressman McGovern, the City of Worcester received $455,000. At the time of the award, we were told that a "Blue Ribbon Committee" would be formed, that we could be part of, to help figure where best to invest the grant. This committee was never formed and the Airport Commission was put in charge of the grant. Reviewing the Board Minutes from 2005, I have the following questions:

1) In the February, 2005, Airport Liason Niddrie discussed a required qtrly update on the grant required by DOT, can you please make the most recent DOT grant qtly update part of the next meeting, so we can see how the monies have been spent to date. Specifically, I notice in the in the March, 2005 meeting, IMG will prepare presentations for 6 airlines at the cost of $53,000, is that in addition to the $100,000 that had been spent on the IMG report or included in the $100,000.

2) Also in the March, 2005 meeting, it was stated that the City was "obligated" under the DOT grant to hire a consultant to prepare these 6 presentations; however, the DOT Grant application stated 6 months of free parking. How is the City "obligated" by the terms of the application to hire a consultant to prepare these 6 presentation but not "obligated" by the to provide the 6 months of free parking as stated in the DOT application

3) What is the status of the 6 presentations?

November 26, 2005

Airport Drive

I really think we need to impress the passengers who fly out of ORH on Allegiant when service starts on December 22nd. In the past I felt it was important to have:
  1. Free Parking
  2. Free Wifi
  3. Improved signage to and from ORH
  4. "Dunkin Donuts" type set-up with fresh coffee and donuts, etc

Not all has gone to plan... Let me add to the list:

5. Completion of construction work on Airport Drive from Pleasant Street. From the October meeting "unsure whether or nottheir contractor will be able to complete a base coat of asphalt on the road before winter".

November 25, 2005

MassPort Automated Parking Problems

First off we should not charge for parking. If parking fees are put into effect and the process to exit the lot is only automated (no personnel), there will be problems. I tried to explain the automated parking procedure to my mother today to no avail. Story from the Boston Herald below:

Massport is scrambling to eliminate a computer glitch in its new $21 million express parking equipment that has caused maddening delays for Logan Airport passengers who paid in advance for a speedy exit, officials said.

The equipment, which is available in all Logan’s garages, has difficulty reading plastic and paper cards designed to help people whisk through new exit express lanes. The problem leaves prepaid passengers stuck staring at parking gates while attendents work to correct the error.
“We’ve got some bugs and we’re working on them,” Massport business manager Jack Hemphill said.

The new express parking options were introduced at the airport this year to help reduce delays and chaos in the airport’s cramped garages. Passengers can now register for a plastic “parking passport” card through Massport or they can use “exit express” kiosks to pay for parking in terminals so they can leave quickly when they get to the garage gates.

November 24, 2005

Parking Fees

I have gone through all the minutes of the Airport Commission in 2005, except November, and am surprised how little discussion is given to parking rates. The only time it was ever even mentioned was in the September meeting. Parking rates may actually be one of the most important decisions that the airport commission works on. Maybe the minutes of the November meeting will show a more in depth discussion as to why we will be charging for parking???

There are eight reasons why I feel parking should be free:
  1. IMG Report recommended free parking
  2. IMG Report explained our primary trade area as people who are within a 20 minute ride. Why would any of these people pay for parking when they can simply be dropped off and picked up?
  3. In September, 2003, we all worked to get small community air service grant from the DOT. After Congressman McGovern stepped in, ORH received a grant of $455,000. For the record, we were denied this grant the prior two years and it was Congressman McGovern who should be credited for making it happen. In the application it was explained we would offer 6 months of free parking. Why have we changed out mind?
  4. It is not fair to people who bought tickets when Allegiant was first announced and before the parking rates were announced. Maybe one of their reasons to fly Allegiant out of ORH was free parking?
  5. Although I tried to get this confirmed, I am guessing that the system to collect money will be unmanned. The automated systems are simply a pain and will cause problems. You will need to bring your parking tickets inside the terminal, pay the automated system, get your ticket stamped and remember to bring it with you to get through the gate.
  6. Other secondary airports around the country who are within one hour of major metropolitan airports do not charge for parking.
  7. If I park my car in the Worcester State shuttle lot, how will anyone know if I am a Worcester State student or flying Allegiant to Florida.
  8. Leisure travelers, our target market, will not understand an automated parking system unlike the business traveler. I can seriously see people jumping in their cards proceeded to the exit gate looking for an attendant.

In the end the revenue forecast will not be met, people in Worcester will not pay for parking, the unmanned system will cause problems and the image of conveniece that IMG says we need to profess will not be met. As good as it was to land Allegiant charging for parking is a huge mistake!!!

November 23, 2005

RFP on The Restaurant

January, 2005 board minutes page 4. Here is a quick summaary:

Looks like the RFP was sent to MassPort, at the time of this board meeting (10 mos ago), for review. Once MassPort signed off, the Commission would sign off and then the City would sign off, but "no solicitations will be undertaken until such time as we know there are potential bidders for the project".

I see no other follow-ups from the minutes after that through October. Assuming there have been all the appropriate sign-offs, how do you know if there are any bidders if you do not release the RFP? Better yet why would you put together an RFP have MassPort, the Commission and the City sign off but then not release to see if there was any interest?? Isn't that the whole point of an RFP to determine interest....

Airport Minutes

All of them are on-line for 2005 except for November at Please note that item 5) old business and item 6) new business for June and August are identical. I am trying to get this clarified.

`Welcome Charles Farley (aka abused taxpayer)

I would like to welcome Charles Farley (aka abused taxpayer) and author of . He brings some valuable insight to the blog.

Although I feel ORH is a great untapped asset, I will join Mr Farley (2,000,000 per year) to close ORH unless I see substantial changes at the airport. The next 18 months at ORH will determine its future.

If it is business as usual and the airport continues to lose $2,000,000 per year, whether it is subsidized or not by MassPort, I will join Mr Farley (aka abused taxpayer). Can we get some clarification on the FAA number that is owed?? IMG reports 8.5 million while prior press releases typically mention 25-30 million.



Board Meeting Minutes

The minutes for the Jan-June minutes are on-line in the .pdf file format on . I have requested the July-November minutes from our airport liason, Phil Niddrie.



November 22, 2005

Anonymous Comments Not Accepted

Earlier today, some comments were posted on the blog from "abused taxpayer" who has set up a blog as well, Actually some very good points were brought up like the IMG report indicated that the City would owe the FAA 8,500,000 if the airport was closed. All the numbers that I have ever heard were in the $25-$30 million dollar range. We should look into this further.

Just now I deleted all these comments. Not because the comments differ from my opinion, but because I just do not think we can have people post comments anonymously. If you want to disagree, fine but you need to state who you are.

For the record, if things do change up ORH fast, I may join the "abused taxpayer" to close ORH. Airlines like Hooters and USA3000 need to be recruited now for this winter season. Everyday that passes we will miss the winter season for these leisure carriers.



November 21, 2005

Hooters Leaves Rockford

Rockford Airport, the model that ORH should follow and who basically followed the game plan laid out by IMG to ORH, is losing Hooters to Denver. It is not as bad as it sounds since the reason Hooters is leaving is because 1) United will begin flying to Denver in March, 2006 and 2) the NorthWest flights to Detroit (their hub) are both taking the Denver fliers.

As Rockford grows some of the second-tier carriers, who gave Rockford a chance, will be the casualty of the success that they helped create for Rockford. Don't feel bad for Hooters their are other secondary airport out there that need their help.

Like ORH!!

November 20, 2005

Operating Deficits & Current Mgmt

Again the IMG report had some very interesting numbers on our operating deficit. Even during years with alot of commercial service the airport was losing money. The numbers below represent monies from the City of Worcester General Fund and/or Massport to covering the annual deficit (page 18)

  1. 2004 2,288,131
  2. 2003 2,378,854
  3. 2002 1,938,700
  4. 2001 1,172,206
  5. 2000 948,439
  6. 1999 1,148,082
  7. 1998 1,120,434

The past 7 years the total operating loss has been 10,994,846!!!

A big thanks needs to go to MassPort who subsidized almost half (5,144,705),but it still cost the taxpayers of Worcester $5,850,141. If this was a private business, management would have been changed years ago.

Obviously we need to try and renegotiate and extension of the current operating agreement with MassPort, to help subsidize these losses. At the time we need to make in some changes in the actual management of this airport. As IMG suggested on page 29, "A private partner could potentially be convinced to take over operations for a 5-10 year period"

Losing over $10,000,000 in 7 years speaks for itself.

November 19, 2005

IMG Report Again

Although I still question the cost ($100,000), the more I read the IMG report the better it gets. There was nothing "earth-shattering" inside, but it does confirm many of our initial recommendations. Now there is no excuse to pursue these recommendations with a 2nd opinion in hand.

In the report, there are excellent explanations why closure and privatization would not be good or work at ORH. At the same time, the IMG report does state that it may be a long shot, but the most viable PPP (public private partnership--page 29) would be an operations contract.

"A private partner could potentially be convinced to take over operations for a 5 to 10 yearperiod, with strong incentive for increasing air service, the primary purpose of such an arrangement."

Imagine this would be similar to the DCU Center. Although the City of Worcester owns the DCU, we bring in a management company to bring attractions. Is there an private partner who would be interested??? I do not know but it only makes sense to put together an RFP (Request for Proposal) and find out.

The IMG report is really alot better then I initially had thought, but the real question is will we follow the recommendations.

November 18, 2005

Primary Trade Area

In the IMG report, ORH primary trade area is described as anyone within 20 minute drive. Now that ORH is considering a charge for parking (35 per initially increase to 42 per week), I think many of these people in the primary trade area will not get dropped off and picked up?
Myself why would I park and pay $42 when I can have someone else drop me off and pick me living so close by.

In essence, charging for parking will make it less convenient (having to bug family/friends to drop off and pick up) and will not create the revenues that are forecast . Citing the IMG report again, convenience, location and ticket price are the main drivers or airport selection (page 59). If we truly want to target cost-conscious non-stop leisure travelers (page 39), we should be offering free parking (page 61).

Why pay for $100,000 study and not listen to the recommendations?

ATA Ends Service To Indianapolis

ATA, which is owned by ATA Holdings Corp., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in October 2004. Once the nation's 10th largest passenger carrier, it has cut more than 3,000 jobs since it began downsizing from a work force of 7,800 people two years ago. The airline had been the busiest airline at the Indianapolis airport, with 41 daily flights and 22 percent of all passengers, before dropping to just three daily flights since its bankruptcy filing. Now the bankrupt carrier is halting all flights to and from its hometown of Indianapolis after 32 years of operations there, company executives said Tuesday.

‘‘It looks like ATA's traffic base is slowly eroding,'' said Michael Boyd, president of The Boyd Group, an Evergreen, Colo.-based aviation industry consulting firm. He called ATA's abandonment of Indianapolis surprising. ‘‘This is like Sears Roebuck moving to China.'' Looks like ATA and Independence will be joining the list with SouthEast and TransMeridian as carriers, who are no more.

Some may say this is the perfect opportunity for a start-up, like a DJ Air Group, to fill a void left by these carriers??? I hope that I am wrong, but I feel the complete opposite. Events like these will make it that much harder for DJ Air Group to get their first flight, from anywhere, off the ground.

November 17, 2005

Check out this site .

The state of PA has put together this site to promote the utilization of airports in Pennsylvania. Kind of hard to explain but it highlights the benefits of the various (16 !) of them in PA so why drive out of state?? Even has a neat chart of how much you save flying local versus driving to Newark.

This would not be very effective now until we get more flights but once we do a website called ??

JetBlue Embraer

November 9th JetBlue's Embraer started shuttle service between Logan and JFK (8 flights per day). Keep in mind JetBlue plans to accept seven EMBRAER 190s in 2005 and 19 aircraft in 2006. The airline has a total of 101 EMBRAER 190s on firm order, with options for 100 more through 2016.

ORH should keep in touch with JetBlue for an ORH-JFK shuttle.

November 16, 2005

IMG Report One Week Later Including Free Parking

I had a chance to actually read through the IMG report. A week later, it really is pretty good. There are some very interesting studies and facts, including:
  • a very good analysis as to why privatization has many obstacles
  • Worcester focus should be on cost-conscious, non-stop leisure travelers
  • great analysis of our catchment area and primary air trade area
  • top markets traveled to

If you have the opportunity check it out at

Initially I was looking for something that would be earth-shattering, maybe some unknown fact that would save the airport overnight. Bottom line is the airport is a business just like any other business and you need to know your strengths and weaknesses then market accordingly, there is no secret formula. The IMG report does a very good job of doing this, although the cost to me does seem high (100K).

I also have to say, it really does validate many of the recommendations that WIP put together last year. Not surprising since many of us are business-owners and look at ORH realistically as a busines. Now is the time to put these recommendations from IMG into action.

One interesting point on page 62: Air Service will need to be well marketed and must off value to passengers:
  • convenience
  • proximity
  • free parking

Parking Fairness

On September 28th service was announced at of ORH starting December 22nd. At this time parking was free.

Last night, at the City Council meeting a parking fee schedule is announced effective December 22nd.

Is this fair to people who have already purchased tickets on Allegiant out of ORH thinking parking is free? If we need to charge for parking, we should at least have the first 6 months free, expecially for those who have already purchased tickets.

During the six months we would be able to track the amount of cars and the potential revenues to base our decision to charge or not?

Parking Rates

Not sure a comparison of parking rates at ORH to Boston, Providence, Hartford and Manchester is an apples to apples comparison. A more appropriate comparison for ORH would be with other secondary airports outside of major metropolitan areas with airports; for example, Rockford Airport outside of Chicago.

They too lost all commercial service after 9/11 and were able to attract "second-tier" carriers attracting leaisure passengers back to their airport:

  1. TransMeridian (went out of business)
  2. Allegiant (Vegas & Sanford)
  3. Hooters (Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Denver and St Pete's)

Charter Airlines

  1. Apple Vacations (USA3000 partner)
  2. FunJet
  3. SunShip1 (ceased operations)

Once they were able to put themselves back on the map, legacy carriers with multiple flights per today for the business traveler:

  1. NorthWest (Detroit)
  2. United (Denver in March, 2006)

Please note that during this build-up and even now there is FREE PARKING. They have a great advertising pitch hilighting this fact:

Don't let parking costs eat into your vacation fun! Fly RFD and park for FREE!

November 15, 2005

Parking Rates

There is an excellent summary of the goings on at ORH under item 3a) on tonight's City Council agenda.. There is also an update on parking.

Looks like the rates will be $5/day and $35/week (Dec 22-Feb28) then increase to $7/day and $42/week. Think the initial DOT application of 6 months of free parking, or even your first two days free (something along those lines), then followed by the above fee structure would have helped lure people back to ORH from the other airports that we compete against.

Meeting With Airport Liason

Some of us are going to meeting with Airport Liason Phil Niddrie next week.. Some of the things we intend to discuss are listed below. Please add a comment here or e-mail me if you want to add anything to the agenda:

1) Highly recommend a trip by the City Manager/Mayor to Philadelphia to meet with USA3000/Apple Vacation.

2) Highly recommend a trip by the City Manager/Mayor to Mytrle Beach to meet with Hooters Air.

3) Highly recommend that we invite William Herp of Linear Air to Worcester.

4) Highly recommend that we invite President (forgot name) of Cape Air to Worcester.

5) Highly recommend airport board minutes to be placed on the official website of the city


6) Status of the Leigh Fisher Master Plan?

7) Status of the New England Regional Air Study Plan?

8) Status of the RFP for the restaurant slot?

10) Status Free wifi?

11) Status of parking (free or fee)?

12) Status of new signs


13) Privatization should we look into an RFP?

November 14, 2005

SunShip1 Update

In a prior post, I had mentioned that SunShip1 only had one flight (Rockford-Cancun). I just called them (1-866-FLYSUN1), they have no flights right now and have no idea when they may resume any flights....

Meanwhile check out Apple Vacations. USA3000 and Apple would be perfect for ORH.

Today's Editorial

Acording to the Telegram's editorial IMG's report "sharpens" options for the airport?? In other words, there was nothing new here but what we already knew was "sharpened" for a mere $100,000. Next time anything needs to be "sharpened" at ORH, I will do it for $10,000 and save the City of Worcester $90,000.

The editorial, however, brings up one one good question:

"The IMG report, coupled with the master plan (Leigh Fisher) and the FAA survery (assume they mean the New Engand Regional Air Study Plan) still in the works, will provide a solid foundation for decision-making yet to come."

When will the results from these two studies be released?? According to the city web site under the "Master Plan" link, both are to be completed by the fall, 2005. We need to get these studies behind us so that decisions are actually finally made, versus delayed, waiting for the next study.

November 13, 2005

Great Diane Williamson Story Today

Although I agree 100% with her assessment of the study, we can be more then a general and business avaition airport. True a name change by itself will do absolutely nothing, but if we were to implement many of our other recommendations from WIP a name change would actually mean something--a new improved airport.

In addition to general and business aviation, we can have a leisure market. Unlike the business-traveler who need multiple daily flights with many options, ORH can not support this market (business-traveler) without an access road and with 4 airports (Manchester, Providence, Hartford and Boston) all within an hours drive.

On the other hand ORH can support the leisure traveler who can accept 2 to 4 flights per week. Lack of an access road would be outwieghed by reasonable direct flights, free parking, free wifi and a coffee stand, which we do not have--why not??. We took the first step with flights to Orlando on Allegiant, now we have to start picking up direct flights to all the other markets in Florida:

  • Tampa/St Pete
  • Fort Myers
  • Fort Lauderdale

The Central Mass market to Florida alone is huge, we need to tap this market. Once we get that done, we need to look at Myrtle Beach and the Bermuda. At first this sounds like a pipe dream but we only need two airlines to come to ORH to service all of these markets above--USA3000 and Hooters.

For the life of me, I am still amazed that IMG did not even recommend Apple Vacations, the vacation (charter) partner for USA3000, both based in nearby Philadelphia. We should fly the City Manager and Mayor to Philadelphia and make a presentation to Trevor Sadler at USA3000 and Apple Vacation luring them to ORH. After that, a trip to Myrtle Beach and a meeting with Mark Peterson of Hooters Air. This would be money well spent.

Lastly how can IMG simply dismiss an ideas for privatization and recommend negotiations with MassPort only?? I will bring up the house an analogy. If you were selling your house , would you let your house fall into desrepair and only attempt to sell it to your next door neighbor?? No, you would paint the house, mow the lawn, remodel the kitchen and market it to the world. We need to get free WIFI, attract airlines like USA3000/Apple Vacations and Hooters today and market our airport to the world.

Can we once and for all put DJAir belongs, in the 100 to 1 long shot/don't depend on them category. Imagine being a venture capitalists and a couple guys walk into your office looking for 100 million to start an airline targeting both the business-traveler and leisure traveler with the base of operations at ORH. On the other hand, I do see Hooters and USA3000 taking a very close look at ORH, if asked.

Great job by Diane Williamson calling a spade a spade and what about Michael Boyd's comments "The fact you paid $100,000 on that study just amazes me."

November 12, 2005

IMG Confirms WIP Recommendations

I had some time to think about the IMG recommendations. For the most part, the IMG report validates all of our recommendations from a year ago, which cost the City of Worcester $100,000 less then IMG. In case you forgot them:

  1. Rename the airport to Boston-Worcester to approve its appeal as alternative to Boston. This has worked very well for Baltimore Washington and Orlando Sanford International Airport.
  2. Improve access to and from Route 290 including reverse signage. We need to pick one route as the preffered route versus attempting to direct prospective passengers from every single exit off Route 290.
  3. Contact, pursue and invite leisure airline who target secondary cities and provide discount prices to popular leisure destinations (note targeted airlines on
  4. Replace studies with action. Prospective airlines do their own research before entering a market so why waste monies on consultants when we could utilize these same dollars to help advertise airlines who enter this market?
  5. Open lines of communication among involved parties with monthly reports from the Airport Director to the City Council pertaining to the budget and prospective airlines.
  6. Explore possibility if naming rights for the terminal or airport itself.
  7. Generate positive press for the airport. Correct misconceptions about not being able to landing in bad weather and highlight the high level of general aviation activity.
  8. Explore new revenue sources including but not limited to the available restaurant slot and lands remaining idle in the Airport Industrial Park.
  9. Revise and update the official web page.
  10. Start a bumper sticker campaign to generate civic pride and support of the airport. A small oval with the letters ORH?
  11. Improve business traveler services specifically FREE WIFI and FREE PARKING!!!
  12. Recruited airlines need to offered a package that waives fixed overhead expenses and allocated a portion of the $455,000 Small Community Air Service Development Grant from the FAA to their advertising needs.
  13. Invite airport management companies to Worcester and review the possibility of putting together an RFP whereby we lease the entire airport to a private management company.
  14. The PILOT program for non-profits is extremely controversial. We may look into the possibility of asking local non-profits to contribute to a fund that would help attract a daily business flight which would benefit the entire community.

Airlines Recommended by IMG

IMG report on-line at Here are the airlines that they recommended into three categories:

1) Discount Carriers
There is no chance of Frontier flying into Worcester.
Denver to ORH?

2) Second Tier Carriers
Hooter Air
Agree on all three

3) Charter Carriers

Sun Country
Vacation Express

SunShip1 only has one flight from Rockford to Cancun which just got wiped out by a hurricane Wilma?

Think Vacation Express must be scrambling since their partner, Transmeridian, just went under? At the same time, I believe they partnered with Pace which is affiliated with Hooters so a Vacation Express/Hooters pitch makes sense.

SunCountry has very little presence in the NorthEast?

Apple Vacations should be the number 1 charter since they are partners with USA3000. Also like FunJet.

4) Regional Carriers

Cape Air

Agree but add Linear Air.

Again have we not been saying this for over one year, $100,000 less then IMG by the way. Lets send the Mayor and City Manager to USA3000 headquarters (Philadelphia) to bring USA3000 and Apple Vacations to ORG. Trevor Sadler, route planner for USA3000 is a very smart guy and knows their is potential at ORH.

After that take a trip to Mytrle Beach and meet Hooters (Mark Peterson).

Surprised that a couple of the ten daily JetBlue's Embraer 190 flights from Boston to JFK were not recommended over Frontier Airlines.

Leigh Fisher and FAA Studies

According to the official website of ORH, under the "Master Plan" line, we are suppose to be getting results from Leigh Fisher on the 20 Year Master Plan for ORH and the FAA on the New England Regional Air Study Plan in the fall of 2005. What is the status of these two reports?

Lets hope the recommendations are more insightful then IMG.

November 11, 2005

IMG 5 Airlines

Was IMG suppose to identify 5 airlines that ORH were to target for recruitment? If so what 5 have they targeted?

IMG Report

Here are the highlights from the 87 page $100,000 report:
  • we have a market
  • target leisure traveler
  • MassPort must play a role
  • do not close the airport
  • privatization is not an option
  • name change for the airport
  • aggressive marketing strategy must be adopted

If you look at our recommendations from, we have many of these listed for over a year, including Boston-Worcester Airport name change. The only real real discrepency is that we recommended that privatization should be looked into versus being dismissed without an attempt to solicit bids.

In fact the recruitment of DJ Air actually does not agree with the above recommendation. DJ Air will not be targeting the leisure traveler like Allegiant or the other "second-tier" carriers. Michael Boyd, Presient of the Boyd Group, also makes a great point also, if ORH was near 495 or had an access maybe a DJAir would come to ORH. A generous incentive package alone will not entice a DJAir to come to ORH.

We need to focus on the "second-tier" carriers like Hooters/USA3000 and charter companies like FunJet who do in fact focus on the leisure traveler. This traveler will not mind if ORH is on a hill, not right on Route 495. They are more concerned about direct flights, low prices, free parking and other amenities like free wifi.

In the end, I personally did not learn anything from this $100,000 report. Lastly I do not want any more studies, since we already have two more (Leigh Fisher 20 year Master Plan and the New England Study) but the next time we need a consultant, can we hire Michael Boyd?

November 10, 2005

EasyJet Turns 10

Easyjet founder celebrates airline's 10th anniversaryEasyJet founder Stelios Haji-Ioannou celebrated the tenth birthday of his no-frills airline today, crediting the low-cost service not just with revolutionising the travel industry but also with promoting peace and harmony across Europe.

The tycoon also highlighted his green credentials, giving his support to a possible emissions tax on planes.More than 100 million people have used the distinctive orange and white planes since Mr Haji-Ioannou pioneered the pared-down flights, tackling the higher prices of more established rivals and driving up demand for air travel.EasyJet launched from Luton Airport with a service to Glasgow on this day in 1995. Today it scrapped its no-frills policy, but just for the day, to serve free drinks on a repeat flight to celebrate its anniversary.

As well as getting drinks on the house, the passengers on the 11am flight were greeted at Luton by Mr Haji-Ioannou and were given chocolate bars to enjoy on the journey.Today he credited his idea with bringing European nations closer together - and even helping promote world peace."We have made a difference to people`s lives," the tycoon said today."One hundred million people have flown so far with us, so it is making a difference to a lot of people`s lives."We have made relationships possible ... love affairs, weddings."Europe is getting smaller, we are less likely to fight each other or go to war against each other."It is going to be a more peaceful place."

Together with rival carriers such as Ryanair, easyJet has revolutionised air travel for Britons, taking advantage of the open skies policy in Europe and breaking the stranglehold that high-price European state carriers had on the market.The company`s soaraway success has shocked its founder, who credits luck - and a rich father - for his success."It was difficult in those first years," he told the Press Association. "The only thing I was worrying about in 1995 was survival.""I don`t think I could have predicted this 10 years ago."EasyJet has gone from two routes to 224 routes. It has 110 aircraft and carries more than 30 million passengers a year.

EasyJet took delivery of its first wholly-owned aircraft in April 1996 and launched its website in 1997.In 2002 the airline acquired low-cost rival Go, which had originally been set up by British Airways. As rival operators such as Debonair and Duo air fell by the wayside, Mr Haji-Ioannou had succeeded in consistent growth, said Mr Calder, the travel editor of the Independent newspaper.

"This is a very easy game to lose lots of money in," he said."Stelios was in the right place at the right time."He was able to design an airline from a blank piece of paper without union demands, having to serve meals or use travel agents."The rest of the industry has taken a hell of a beating at the hands of easyJet because they weren`t able to take a look at what they were doing."EasyJet and Ryanair have revolutionised the industry. They said `all we do is fly people from A to B, let us make it simple and still make a profit`."People now don`t think twice about commuting from Luton to Spain."They have actually changed our mindset. It is liberating us and giving us the possibility

November 09, 2005

Independence Air Declares Bankruptcy

Low-cost startup airline Flyi Inc. announced Monday that its parent company, Independence Air, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. In a statement released by the airline, it said the bankruptcy filing will allow it to "restructure the company's aircraft leases and other costs to achieve necessary cost savings."

According to Rick DeLisi, director of communications, "No changes in routes, destinations or schedules are planned." Delisi also said the airline will be concentrating on lowering operating costs. As with many other airlines, high fuel costs combined with low fares and multiple carriers on the same route have hurt Independence Air's bottom line.

The announcement is terrible news for investors of the carrier. In a statement posted on its Web site, the airline said that after Chapter 11 proceedings, stock in the company would most likely be worthless. Trading at $6 on its first day of operations, Tuesday afternoon the price of Flyi stock had fallen to .08 cents on the Nasdaq exchange.

November 06, 2005

Nemeth Column

Looks like we finally got some idea of IMG' s recommendations:
  1. City of Worcester should look to MassPort to continue current agreement
  2. We should ask MassPort to subsidize 67% of the operating deficit
  3. Ask MassPort if they want to buy ORH
  4. Privatization, having the city operate the airport as a general aviation airport and closing the airport were rejected.
  5. If we can not get MassPort to sign an extension, however, we should downgrade the airport to general aviation which means no commercial aviation.
  6. IMG also recommended a regional marketing effort and name change.
  7. Our catchment area represents 623,530 people within a 20-30 minute drive.

Is there anything here we did not know???

Why do we only look to MassPort as the only potential suitor to ORH. If you were trying to sell your house would you only talk to your next door neighbor or people on your street?? Privatization is simply ruled out without an RFP looking for a potential buyer?

Stewart International Airport in Newburgh, New York, has solicited proposals for their airport to privatize. In April, 1998, New York State selected the U.K. firm National Express to lease Stewart Airport for 99 years. National Express Group PLC offered $35 million in cash up-front, plus a percentage of airport revenues. Its bid was judged superior to those of the other four finalist teams: American Port Services (Baltimore), D.M. Airport Developers (Morristown, N.J.), Airport Group International (Glendale, Calif.), and LCOR / Schiphol Airport (New York City). How we just say privatization is no good with an RFP (request for proposal), because IMG says so?

In addition, I did not translate Councilor White's, or Councilor Lukes, comments about MassPort as "biting the hand that feeds you." Everyone in Worcester, including WIP members and all City Councilors realize how lucky we are to have MassPort picking up a part of the tab, hereby giving us another three year period to get our act together. Councilors were simply asking why it took so long to get the money, which is predicated under the current agreement. You do, however, bring up a good point, why was the bill not received until September 7th by MassPort when the qtr end 6/30? The only venomous reaction I see is that anytime anyone asks questions about the airport, Bob Nemeth (the current airport commission chairman), attacks them in his Sunday column.

Who didn't know our catchment area consisted of drivers within a 20-30 minute drive, when we do not have an access road and are surrounded by four airports that are approximately one hour away (Manchester, Providence, Boston and Hartford)? Name change?? That was one of WIP's very first recommendations.--Boston-Worcester Airport. Note on the "Recommendations" page of

Lastly what do you think an airline that we are recruiting like DJAir, for example, will think when they read that if we do not get an extension by the Spring by MassPort that the airport should be downgraded to general aviation. Not exactly a help to reveal this information when we are trying to recruit other commercial airlines or passengers, for that matter, to fly out of ORH. Bet you Allegiant will feel great about spending money in our market to attract passengers when they read this? What happened to IMG's idea to start a secondary city to secondary city route like ORH to Harrisburg?

Right now we have to forget about all of these studies!! Get ready for the first passengers for Allegiant on December 22nd by providing proper signage to and from the airport, make sure the road itself is repaired (last week it was under construction),free wi-fi and free parking. After that we need to put together an RFP to privatize the airport and market it nationally...... Why not invite companies like National Express to ORH? What exactly would we lose if we do that and find out nobody is interested??

November 04, 2005

Three Studies

I have forward this post to our airport liason, Phil Niddrie.

We have added a link to FlyWorcester to our blog. Instead of waiting for the November report on the the status of the three studies:

  1. Leigh Fisher 20 Year Master Plan
  2. IMG
  3. New England Study

Base your answers from the last report that you filed with the City Council in October. Instead giving us the whole report there are three questions that I have received time and time again:

  1. when is the next community meeting with Leigh Fisher tentatively scheduled?
  2. when can the results of IMG be expected?
  3. when is the next release of any findings or the next planned meeting from the New England Study coming?

Answers to these three specific questions would be greatly appreciated. Look forward to your answers posted here.



November 03, 2005

Three Studies

I have been getting e-mails as to the status of the three seperate studies:

  1. Leigh Fisher 20 Year Master Plan
  2. IMG
  3. New England Study

I have invited our airport liason, Phil Niddrie, to give us an update her on the blog by answering this post.



November 01, 2005

USA3000 Article

This is just part of the story. Full story at

If you want something done right, the saying goes, you'd better do it yourself. It's a maxim that the people at Apple Vacations took to heart when they were examining ways to make the air portion of their packaged holidays more reliable and of higher quality.

That was the impetus behind the creation of USA 3000, which began operations with a pair of leased A320s in early 2003 and expects to have up to 15 of the twinjets by year end. The carrier is privately held and is led by CEO John Mullen, whose family owns both companies. It does not release financial results.

"The whole concept of USA 3000 was to provide a high-quality product for our sister company Apple Vacations, moving their traffic to and from their resorts in the Caribbean and Mexico," says COO Angus Kinnear, who appears to have a fondness for the number 3000. He previously headed Canada 3000 Airlines, an unrelated company that had moderate success until an ill-starred merger with another leisure carrier, Royal Aviation, sent it into a nosedive that 9/11 made permanent.

The US edition operates out of Baltimore, Newark, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Chicago O'Hare and St. Louis providing both scheduled and charter flights to destinations in Florida, Mexico and the Caribbean. Approximately 80% of the service is scheduled, with up to 54 daily flights, according to the company.

Prior to launching the airline, Apple Vacations, which has been in the travel and tour business for more than three decades, relied on ad hoc charter operators to haul passengers for whom it booked holidays. But it often had to rely on older used aircraft, so reliability and ontime performance were issues. "The product was really a second-class operation from an aviation point of view," says the blunt-spoken Scotsman-Canadian. "The airplanes being contracted to fly the vacation packages were probably second-generationthe ones Major carriers had passed down like 727s and MD-80s. We wanted to make sure we could provide not only a safe operation but also a reliable one."