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??


Anonymous said...

Maybe it couldn't hurt to approach this fellow about launching a US subsidiary based out of Worcester?

He used the Southwest model to launch his EasyJet brand and rumor has it, has been possibly looking to get into the United States market. Pardon the 2004 Red Sox slogan but "Why Not Us?"

Being a Brit, launching his venture in New England, particularly the heart of New England makes sense, particularly if given an equity stake in the facility.

What do you all think?

Anonymous said...

Sorry folks, I listed that post as 'Anonymous', it was from your 'ol pal:

Harry Tembenis
Worcester, MA

Bill Randell said...

Why not reach out to EasyJet's Stelios?? We have nothing to lose!!!

Instead of sitting around waiting for consultants telling us what we already know, we should be talking to everyone and anyone inviting them to ORH.