December 31, 2006

Bob Nemeth's Column

This from Bob Nemeth, past Airport Chairman and current Airport Board Member. Keep in mind this is the same Bob Nemeth that praises every consultant report and editorializes constantly that ORH is on the right track. Although Mr Nemeth has recently been aluding to the fact MassPort may be our best option (October commentary), now it looks like it is a done deal:

"Lets hope decision-makers will come to the conclusion that municipal government doesn't belong in the aviation business and invite MassPort to take title to Worcester Regional Airport."

Isn't Mr Nemeth a decision-maker, as a past Airport Chairman and current Airport Board Member??? Decision-makes, like Mr Nemeth, should have listened to our recommendations two years ago, check out web site: 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.

Decision-makers, like Mr Nemeth, should have had consultants, like IMG, prepare and market an RFP for the airport, not pay them $100,000 for study that told us everything we already knew, or another $100,000 for IMG to help retain and recruit commercial air service that has resulted in nothing. Now we have less then 6 months until the current operating agreement ends and are only in negotiations with one buyer (MassPort). I still do not understand how a 4.5 acre parcel of land, emtpy restaurant slot or parking management company require an RFP, but the entire airport will not?

Although I do feel that the City should not be in the airport business and MassPort will be a great improvement, it make you wonder what else could have been out there. Check out the story below about Tacoma Narrows Airports. Lastly if you are in negotiations with MassPort to outright take title or long-term lease the airport, should a past Airport Chairman and current Airport Member being saying things like this while we are trying to get the best deal for the tax-payers/owners of the airport??

"Lets hope decision-makers, like Mr Nemeth, are not involved in the future management of Worcester Regional Airport once MassPort takes title or long-term leases ORH. "

December 30, 2006

Griswold Airport in Ct

December 30, 2006

MADISON, Conn. --Griswold Airport will shut down this weekend, ending a 75-year run for the tiny shoreline airfield where hundreds of pilots have earned their wings. "It's the end of an era," said Loren Baker, the airport manager for the last decade. The 42-acre shoreline airfield, which closes at midnight Sunday, is being sold to a developer who wants to build a 127-unit housing complex for residents ages 55 and older.

The airport is one of 13 privately owned, public-use airports in Connecticut. Local garage owner Jack Griswold opened the airport in 1931 and later turned over operations to his son, Sherman. Sherman Griswold's wife, MaryAnn Griswold, is the current owner. By the 1970s, the airport was home to at least 60 aircraft and visitors could book charter flights, sightseeing flights or flying lessons.

In anticipation of this weekend's closure, aircraft stored in its aging hangars -- from general aviation planes to experimental craft and ultralights -- already have been moved elsewhere. Several pilots have flown into the airport over the past week, gliding onto its single paved runway to stop at the small clubhouse nearby to say goodbye.

Privately owned, public-use airports like the Griswold Airport are closing at the rate of about one every two weeks nationwide, according to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
Connecticut officials have been exploring ways to help the state's remaining small airports stay in business through low-income loans, tax relief and other proposals. Some other states already have taken steps to preserve the nation's small private airports, which number about 950. Texas land owners, for instance, are exempted from property taxes for the portion of their land used as a publicly accessible air strip.

Connecticut transportation officials are also exploring ways to let towns or the state purchase development rights to the land, which would let them preserve it as open space if the airports close. New Jersey already has such a program. Before Griswold Airport's closure, about 450 small planes were based at Connecticut's 13 privately owned airports open for public use in Connecticut. That does not include planes based at the six state-owned airports and the four municipally owned facilities.

December 29, 2006

Allegiant Stock

It just keeps getting better and better for Allegiant.

Allegiant Air's stock value has increased about 55 percent in the three weeks since it became available. The stock, which originally was offered Dec. 8 at $18 a share and was trading late Wednesday afternoon at $27.89.

Worcester and the CFL

Harry made this as a comment the other day. At first I thought this was crazy, but the more I thought about it, who knows?? I particularly like the Flutie angle. Harry's Tembenis letter:

With the recent success of minor league sports teams in Worcester , the time may be right to resurrect the idea of possibly bringing a Canadian Football League franchise to town. Back in the late 1980's-early 1990's timeframe, a group wanted to have the 'New England Knights' become the first United States franchise for the CFL. Holy Cross' Fitton Field was chosen as the preferred stadium to play in. Lack of buy in from the necessary stakeholders ultimately
doomed the project at that particular time but it did raise an interesting prospect.

We fast forward now to the present and the city of Worcester has undergone tremendous change. Worcester now supports 2 (soon to be 3) minor league franchises, whereas this brings notoriety and name recognition to the city, it pales in the exposure which could be brought by a major league sports franchise.

A win-win scenario stands to emerge if this is handled right this time. First and foremost the big winner is the city of Worcester. With the emerging canal district complementing Shrewsbury Street,Highland Street and downtown for restaurant/bar/nightlife business- the possibility of bringing in 25,000 fans (the average attendence for CFL games and considered a sell out by
Fitton Field standards) per game for 9 home games over the period of June-October (the CFL regular season) would spread around tremendous economic spinoff, not to mention a good shot in the arm economically for the area surrounding Fitton Field/Holy Cross.

If you factor in the work being done with the Mass Pike/146 connector, this truly makes the CFL team accessible to all of New England and would bring many new and first time visitors to the city. Another winner would be the Worcester airport as the teams will have to fly in somewhere and thus create a demand for use at the airport!

Holy Cross would also win in that this could further fulfill a payment in lieu of taxes obligation started by the work done on the baseball stadium for the Worcester Tornadoes and furthered with the CFL franchise. Also any televised games beamed to Canada would showcase the campus for any prospective students considering going to McGill or Concordia University to
possibly consider Holy Cross instead. Canada has a population of 33,000,000, if just 10 percent of the country was to view the games regularly, then Holy Cross and Worcester, Ma would be mentioned repeatedly to 3,300,000 people; major exposure for the city and Holy Cross!

After a few years to establish a solid fan base then a stadium could be built in the former Wyman Gordon property to accomodate both the CFL franchise and the Worcester Tornadoes, once again stimulating the area surrounding Kelley Square, the canal district and downtown. Back in the day there was a Worcester Stadium Committee, maybe they should reform and explore this option?

Another big winner would be the Worcester Sharks hockey team; the AHL is followed very closely in Canada and if Worcester Shark games would be held in the evening of a CFL franchise afternoon game, you truly have a sports fan's 'double header'. The CFL is also looking for another team to complement the addition of an Ottawa franchise to keep the amount of teams represented in the 2 divisions of the CFL even. Opportunity is knocking. As far fetched as this idea may seem just consider a major stakeholder who would lend instant credibility to any group trying to get a CFL franchise going into Worcester; just 25 miles to the east of the city
resides the CFL's most legendary player, he won the CFL's Most Outstanding Player award six times and the league's Grey Cup championship three times.

He is of course, Doug Flutie who also played his last regular season college game for Boston College at Fitton Field vs Holy Cross. For Doug's part to help land the franchise a donation to the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism to the tune of anywhere from $1 to $3 per ticket would sure add up quick!

December 28, 2006

Information Request

Here is the answer:


We have discussed this request and the consensus is that this information is best obtained through the Auditor’s Office in Worcester for Worcester Employees and Massport for Massport Employees because you have asked for specific salaries paid to specific people.

The same office in the City is the best for the Bond issues you have requested.

I will tell you that much of the information is available on line from the city from the specific year you have requested if you review the Budget Actuals. For Example, at present, in the budget, we have 19 positions authorized. 6 are Security Guard Crash Crewmen (one remains not filled due to Allegiant leaving), 1 Chief of Security, 2 Custodians (one remains not filled due to Allegiant leaving), 6 Maintenance staff, 1, Maintenance Supervisor, 1 accountant,1 clerk and myself. All those people are City Employees. There are 5 Massport Employees. The number of approved positions was the same for FY2006, but some of the positions mentioned above were filled at various times of the year. For example, we brought one Security Guard position on when Allegiant was coming so he was hired in December- he was not here all year. A Maintenance person left and there was a gap in time for hiring the replacement person. You will be able to see the information as you review actual salaries.

Sorry, but the actual dollars by person is best obtained from the office that has actual dollars expended.

Phil Niddrie

Tacoma Narrows

Tacoma Narrows Airport could be on a new financial flight path next year. A private party is negotiating with the City of Tacoma to buy the 43-year-old general-aviation facility on the Gig Harbor peninsula. City Manager Eric Anderson declined this week to name the prospective buyer or discuss a possible purchase price for the airport and adjacent properties. But he did say the suitor, an out-of-state company with experience in airport operations, is "willing to pay more than the county."

Pierce County offered earlier this year to take over the airport in a $4 million deal. The county would have paid about $3 million for the facility and assumed responsibility for about $1 million in safety zone costs, County Councilman Terry Lee, R-Gig Harbor, said this week. Lee thought he could have persuaded the County Council to go as high as $3.5 million, plus the $1 million safety-zone expense. That would have covered the $3.5 million the city loaned itself for airport operations. But the two governments never reached an accord, and any thought of doing business with the county is on hold while the city negotiates with the private buyer, Anderson said. Trying to get the most money for the property is "simply a matter of due diligence," he added.

The facility long has been a drain on city finances. Figures released in May showed a two-year operating deficit of $550,000. Estimates on the value of the airport and adjacent land vary widely. "The numbers that have been kicked around run from $3.5 million to $20 million, depending on how you look at the properties and their future uses," Anderson said. He hopes to wrap up negotiations by the end of February.

Lee was deeply disappointed. "I do believe the appropriate owner is Pierce County," he said.
The airport is a city-owned island in the unincorporated Gig Harbor area. It has long generated ill will among neighbors, who complain about aircraft noise and worry the 5,002-foot runway might be lengthened to accommodate even larger planes. The city's 20-year plan does not contemplate such an extension. Although Lee thinks "the general-aviation airport provides a great service," he had hoped the county could transform some of the unimproved property into trails for hiking and horseback riding, an off-leash dog park and other recreational uses.
Now he's thinking about negotiating with a private owner for some of those amenities.

Nearby resident Carl Geist, who serves on a commission formed to resolve the rift between the city and the county, isn't opposed to a private sale.

NY Port Authority Studies 4th Airport

NEW YORK, NY, United States (UPI) -- The New York area`s airport operator has set aside $150 million to develop a fourth passenger airport to serve the New York metropolitan region.

The money in the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey`s 10-year capital plan follows the operator`s singling out Stewart International Airport, 55 miles north of New York City, as the fourth airport`s most likely site.

'We are aggressively studying Stewart and trying to determine what the appropriate role for this agency would be in it,' agency spokesman Marc La Vorgna told the (Middletown, N.Y.) Times Herald-Record. 'We hope to move forward as quickly as possible.'

Airport operator National Express Group has put its 99-year lease on Stewart up for sale and says it plans to reach a deal by March. The operator is talking with several possible buyers, including the Port Authority, the newspaper says.

December 26, 2006

Cranky Flier

Absolutely awesome blog. I have a link on the left. Just a sample of the various things you can read on his blog.

  • Beeches in Boston - Delta announced a deal with Big Sky Airlines to fly 8 19-seat Beechcraft 1900 aircraft from Boston beginning next spring. No routes have been announced yet, but with those small planes, it's bound to be smaller regional routes. Big Sky must be breathing a sigh of relief since they're owned by Mesaba's parent company, and Mesaba is in dire straits. This should help them bolster their own business going forward.

Greenville-Spartanburg Airport

Great story on Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport is courting at least five low-cost air carriers. They seem to be in a similar position as ORH leaking from their catchment area to Charlotte. Here is the link for the entire story here are some parts:

* "The quest for a low-cost carrier is an ongoing quest," airport spokeswoman Rosylin Weston said. "We are not operating in a vacuum. The three people at Greenville-Spartanburg who share the task of landing a low-cost carrier are airport director Gary Jackson, GSP's chief financial officer Jack Murrin, and Weston. Jackson has been with the airport for about 20 years, while the others were hired in 1999.

Their strategy is one of networking, marketing and synthesizing efforts with economic development projects -- though none of those will work unless an airline thinks servicing the Upstate would be profitable. In other words, airlines want to know they'll have passengers. And timing is everything........

* Though Allegiant doesn't substantially increase the options a flyer has out of GSP, if it is successful, it can be used as a tool to lure other low-cost carriers. As Gibbs puts it, "It gives you another arrow in the quiver, so to speak. It's a demonstration that low fares really generate traffic, that a carrier can come in and be successful." "With the low-cost carrier, a big part of the case is to show that traffic has been underdeveloped because fares have been so high, so that if a low-cost carrier came in, it would stimulate a great deal of traffic," he said.....

* He also accompanied the GSP team to Denver-based Frontier Airlines in early November. Frontier has no immediate plans to announce flights to GSP, airline spokesman Joe Hodas said.
Frontier meets with hundreds of communities each year, he said. This year, only four or five new destinations were added. Next year, because of the purchase of about 10 regional jets, Frontier likely will add about 15 new markets, Hodas said. "It was a good meeting," Gibbs said. "I think they were very impressed with the area, the underlying population, the economy. They have a lot of opportunities. They are besieged. There are many more airports seeking low-cost service than there are carriers......"

* Greenville-Spartanburg employs "a number of consultants," Weston said, including those who specialize in seeking new airlines or the expansion of existing air service. Like Gibbs, they provide information that GSP officials can use to make the airport here attractive to airlines. But no one has been hired to specifically make calls or pitch GSP on the airport's behalf. And, anyone can pay for a study to make an airport look good.

"Sometimes (airlines) want to talk to you about your city and your community, and they don't care about the numbers," said Bob Uhrich, director of air service development at Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport.

December 25, 2006

Merry X-Mas

First of Merry X-Mas to all who read this blog. I am thinking as we go into 2007 that I may broaden the scope of this blog especially since I do not see alot of news coming out of the airport. Over the next 6 months:

  1. RFP that is due in January
  2. Final Report on the Master Plan
  3. Negotiations to sell or long-term lease ORH
Other then that there will be no other news, no commercial carriers are coming in the short-term. As a businessman in Worcester, I am going to start getting into other issues that may be of interest. Open to suggestions.

December 24, 2006

Allegiant Keeps Going

Ryanair is generally accorded “rock star” status for its prowess for generating non-ticket revenue from its customers. But another star is standing in the curtains and may take a portion of the stage from this European phenomenon.

Allegiant Air reports it generated ancillary revenues of €10.79 (US$13.58) per passenger during the first 6 months of 2006, which substantially bests the €7.84 (US$9.87) posted by Ryanair for the same period.

An IdeaWorks analysis reveals Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air has perfected its craft in the most unlikely of markets – the United States – where airlines don’t typically charge extra for all the extras they provide. Here is a sampling of the observations from the analysis:

  • In Las Vegas alone, the airline has agreements with 37 hotels, including major players such as Harrah’s Entertainment, MGM Mirage, and Wynn Resorts.

  • Allegiant Air generates more than 80% of its bookings via its web site.

  • IdeaWorks believes Allegiant Air focuses on the unbundled aspect of travel products to a greater degree than any other US-based airline.

  • On a total ancillary revenue basis, Allegiant Air generated a modest €14 million (US$11 million) for fiscal year 2005 and its results are roughly comparable to those posted by AirAsia and SkyEurope.

Stewart May Be Bought By Port Authority?

Stewart Airport – Congressman Maurice Hinchey has written to Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Chairman Anthony Coscia “to encourage” the agency to make Stewart Airport the “New York City metropolitan area’s fourth regional airport.”

Hinchey said Tuesday that as far as he is concerned, the privatization of Stewart was a bad idea from day-one. “I predicted then that it wasn’t going to be successful and it certainly hasn’t been,” he said. “Stewart has been the only private airport of size in the country and it just does not work.” Hinchey said it is “pretty clear that we need something better – better organization to operate this airport.” And with JetBlue service now at Stewart, it is time for the Port Authority to “step up to the plate.”

Hinchey said he will also work to advance a plan to develop a spur from the Metro-North Port Jervis commuter railroad line to Stewart.


Fliers should not be afraid that SkyValue USA is faltering despite its decision to pull one of its destinations, according to Chris Curry, director of Gary/Chicago International Airport. The passenger airline will be ending flights to Fort Lauderdale in mid-January, raising concerns that SkyValue was going the way of former Gary airlines Hooters Air, Southeast and Pan Am.

Also, on Thursday, a passenger flight from Florida to Gary was diverted to the South Bend airport because of weather-related problems. Curry said passengers were bussed back to Gary.
Curry said he isn't worried, and is actually surprised by the success of SkyValue's Mesa-Phoenix line, which he says is also attracting numerous fliers coming back to Northwest Indiana and Chicago from Arizona.

"When we went into this venture with SkyValue, we understood there were three markets that were tested. They were Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and St. Petersburg, Fla.," said Curry. "With Mesa-Phoenix ... we were quite surprised with the success of that route. We're trying to find our niche in the market. I think we've found four quality destinations. However, Fort Lauderdale, Fla., turned out to be not as successful. Twenty people were affected by cancellation of the first flights, although other Fort Lauderdale flights will go on through mid-January.

December 23, 2006

Airtran Adds Boston Flights

AirTran Airways announced today it has added four daily non-stop flights between Orlando and Boston. The announcement also touted the start of flights between Chicago and Ft. Myers, Detroit and Ft. Myers, White Plains and Ft. Lauderdale, and White Plains and Tampa. AirTran also resumed nonstop, seasonal routes between Akron-Canton and Ft. Myers, Detroit and Sarasota/Bradenton, Flint and Ft. Myers, and Rochester and Ft. Lauderdale.

The Orlando-based low-cost carrier is still aggressively pursuing a proposed merger with Midwest Airlines. Looks like Midwest, though, is continuing to rebuff the offer.

Fort Worth Aliance Airport

Thanks Harry

Ckick here for Alliance Airport

December 22, 2006


The current operating agreement will not be renewed and the City will lease the airport to MassPort for at least 30 years, with an option to renew, at some nominal amount. Although I feel that this will be a great improvement over the current situation, I am really starting to agree with Jahn and Harry.

  1. Are we getting fair market value?
  2. Were there other potential bidders, other then just MassPort?

Somehow this will all get done with an RFP. It really makes no sense that we need to put together an RFP for a 4 acre parcel of land, but will end of leasing the airport (all 1300 plus acres) without one. Even more ironic is that none of the 3 studies that we waited for so patiently the past couple of years (IMG, New England Regional Air Study and our Master Plan), which cost the tax-payers millions, did not even address the this issue??

30B not 40B

I have mentioned the Mass General Law being 40B in regards to procurement. It is actually 30B, not 40B. Sorry. If you want to read something very interesting check out the sale Hale Hospital by the City of Haverhill.

Click here

Current RFP

I will go on the record here, we will get at the very most 1 bid on the vacant parcel. At the same time there is a 50/50 chance there will be no bids.

December 21, 2006


From Jahn:

Guys, we've got to get our ideas and thoughts in some kind of order here, almost as if this is a cases study in college.

First let's list the options going forward:

1. Private management co.

2. Private owners

a. Sell outright
b. L T lease

3. City goes it alone.

4. Cont. current agreemnt w/MP

5. New agreement w/MP to :

a. buy outright.
b. L T Lease
c. Manage ORH only

Now let list the pros & cons for each line item and our assumptions if need be.

Also, if there is an option I failed to list, please add it.

I am thinking here, would this be a good case study for the MBA's at harvard or the like?

Anything is worth a try at thiss juncture??

December 20, 2006


SkyValue CEO Darrell Richardson relaxed Friday in the last row of seats on a Boeing 737 with the satisfied look of a man whose child had just graduated from college. For four years, the industry veteran and former CEO of PACE Airlines had dreamed of landing an airline in Gary. On Friday, with the takeoff of SkyValue Flight 511 from Gary/Chicago International to Mesa, Ariz., that dream became reality. "It takes so much to make it happen," Richardson after a catered continental breakfast served to all 98 passengers. "There's just so many pieces of the puzzle that have to come together." That didn't keep Richardson from looking ahead Friday, particularly when it comes to Williams Gateway Airport, SkyValue's Mesa destination.

Williams Gateway officials have expressed "a real desire" for flights from their airport to Los Angeles, Richardson said. Once Gary is established as a successful operations base for SkyValue, the airline might be able to oblige. "Williams has been a real surprise, it's our biggest seller at this point," Richardson said. SkyValue has a goal of filling an average of 75 percent of the 174 seats on planes, Richardson said. That is the standard for profitability for most main-line carriers. Some airline analysts have pointed out SkyValue could probably be profitable with a load factor less than that. In addition to Williams Gateway, SkyValue flies to three Florida airports: Ft. Lauderdale/Hollywood International, St. Petersburg/Clearwater International and Orlando International. It also flies to Las Vegas/McCarran International.

The Gary airport on Friday had more good news, which airport director Chris Curry received on the flight back from Mesa. Xtra Airways, which supplies the jet and crews for SkyValue flights, decided to take a Boeing 737-400 jet based at Louisville International Airport and transfer it to Gary. The jet is used for charter groups that depart from airports around the United States. "We can make some money on the flight, and it also provides our airport with a certain appearance, having another big jet there," Curry said.

The airport rolled its offer of parking for Xtra Airways jets into the SkyValue contract. Curry had been hopeful the Elko, Nev.-based airline might take Gary up on its offer. The plane flew in for the first time over the weekend. That means three Boeing 737s are using Gary as their base. Boeing Corp. houses its own corporate Boeing business jet there, which is a 737 set up as a virtual flying office.

The airport's revenue from hosting the Xtra Airlines charter jet would come mainly from landing and fueling fees, with the airport collecting 5 cents on every gallon of jet fuel pumped this year. That charge goes up to 7 cents next year. The big Boeing jet can hold approximately 6,000 gallons of fuel, so each fill-up can mean an approximately $400 tip for the airport, in addition to landing and parking fees. It also means Xtra Airways could give some consideration to running charters out of Gary in the future, Curry said

December 19, 2006

Answers to some Comments

Thought worthy of a blog:


Two years ago in our recommendations on the, we urged the City to put out an RFP for the airport. Whoever came back with the best offer, whether it be Massport or an airline (Harry always thinking of you) or how about a start like Eclipse look for a NorthEast base? Who knows.

Bottom line we all know the airport is an asset, but it has only been a financial drain on the airport. Does the City run the Centrum--no!! Who runs Wachusett Mountain? The Crowley Family.

My only fear is that we waited so long, now less then 200 days left, MassPort is holding all the cards. If they threaten not to extend the current agreement, unless we long-term lease the airport, do you think the tax-payers of ORH are ready to start kicking in $2,000,000 per year.

Bottom line is that I think we are all in agreement. We need to privatize the airport. At the same time, we all want to make sure that we get the best deal and are not leasing the airport out below market value.

December 18, 2006


WE have said now for two years to lease the airport similar to Newburgh, New York, who leases the airport to National Express. Here is brief summary from the home page, the term in privatization.


In April, 1998, New York State selected the U.K. firm National Express to lease Stewart Airport for 99 years. Stewart thus became the first U.S. airport to be fully privatized and the first participant in the FAA’s airport privatization pilot program to complete the process.

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).

National Express, the former British government intercity bus operator, is also a privatized company. It was privatized in 1988 by the Thatcher government and went public on the London Stock Exchange in 1992. It has acquired bus operations in Europe and New Zealand and was a successful bidder for five of the 25 passenger rail franchises offered last year during the privatization of British Rail (including the Gatwick Express linking London to Gatwick Airport). It purchased two of the United Kingdom’s regional airports - Bournemouth and East Midlands - when they were privatized, and it recently was awarded a management contract to run the Subic Bay Airport in the Philippines.

In 1987, the British government kicked off the airport privatization trend by announcing the public sale of the British Airports Authority (BAA) , a government agency which owned and managed seven of the country’s largest airports, including London Heathrow, the world’s busiest international airport. A phenomenal 1.4 billion shares of stock raising 1.9 billion were sold to 2.2 million citizens in the initial public offering, and the newly privatized BAA remained as manager of the airports.

In addition to operating seven airports in the U.K., BAA operates several international airports. Its management of the airport in Sydney, Australia has been an unequivocal success, with improved efficiency, reduced costs, and increased employee and customer satisfaction. In the U.S., BAA manages Indianapolis International Airport under a subsidiary company BAA Indianapolis LLC.

Increasingly, airports are being viewed as enterprises, rather than as public services which are expected, at best, to break even. Around the world, governments in both developed and developing countries are turning to the private sector for airport management and development. Municipal and state governments in this country can use the private sector to improve airport operations in several ways.

For existing airports, the simplest form of privatization is contracting out management of the airport on a relatively short-term basis. Larger economic benefits can generally be obtained via a long-term lease or sale of the airport. Federal airport grant (AIP) funds for capital investment projects can be used at all types of privatized airports, but so-called entitlement grants (based on passenger or cargo volume) are only available if government retains underlying ownership of the airport (which still permits management contracting or long-term leases). Tax-exempt bonds may remain in place when an airport is privatized, and in some cases tax-exempt financing can be used for new airport privatization projects.

The benefits of a more entrepreneurial approach to airport management include increased operating efficiency, increased airport revenues, improved airport amenities, possible new revenue streams for state and local governments, and reduced risk of developing uneconomic (white-elephant) projects. Airlines, passengers, private-plane owners, and taxpayers can all benefit from this new approach to airport management.

December 17, 2006

Telegram Editorial

As promised here, the Telegram has the post December 14th Master Plan Community Meeting Editorial. Before you read, here are my thoughts:

  • There's plenty of buzz?? Yeah, as in we waited this long for this..
  • The courtship of corporate, commercial and general aviation is heating up? Isn't this the job of the airport to court these different aviation lines, why has is taken so long to heat up?
  • Dozens of developers have responded to an RFP means nothing. Show me ten proposals with $10,000 deposits and then we can talk. We will be lucky to get one.
  • The agreement between the city and the the is very important to the success of ORH. No kiddin. Talk about the understatement of the year.
  • MassPort may possible even take title via an extended $1 per per year lease!!! Did I read that right?? Yeah I did. Finally!!!!!!

I don't blame MassPort if they do not want to extend the current agreement. Over the last 8 years, I bet you that they are out of pocket approximately $5,000,000, not to mention there time and effort. For what?? Nothing.. Now at $2,000,000 per year, even excluding debt service, if MassPort were to cover 67% of the operating deficit, it will run them about $1,000,000 per year. If you were MassPort would want to renew the agreement? No way!! To top it off, they can never realize any return on 3 and 5 operating agreements. MassPort needs to either take title, either by outright sale or long-term lease (99 years) to invest the much needed funds, while giving MassPort a chance to realize a return on their investment.

This brings up another question can we simply long-term lease the airport or outright sell it without an RFP? There is an municipal asset (valued more then $20,000) and must follow the Commonwealth of Massachusetts procurement laws as outlined by MGL (Mass General Law) 40B. It would appear to me that an RFP must be put together and publicized for any possible suitor (Harry Tembenis' airlines, etc), a direct negotiation with MassPort does not appear to meet the requirements of 40B, in my opinion.

Take a moment to review one of our original recommendations, click here and hit the "Vision and Recommendation Key".

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.

Althought this is good news, I believe that we will need to put together and RFP to allow MassPort to outright take title (Sale) or long-term lease (99 years) ORH. We should have been working on this the past three years starting on July 1, 2004, when the current three yeat agreement was renewed!!!!

Telegram Editorial December 17th

Critical talksMassport involvement key to airport’s future

There’s been plenty of buzz about Worcester Regional Airport recently: Its federally funded master plan is near completion. The courtship of corporate, commercial and general aviation by the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport, and city officials is heating up. Dozens of developers are responding to requests for proposals for building new hangars and other facilities. But make no mistake: The success of all of those activities, and the airport’s future, hinges entirely on the continued involvement of Massport, the city’s stalwart partner on Airport Hill. The agreement between the city and the authority expires next June. It would be difficult to overstate the importance of Massport — and not just because it has picked up much of the municipal airport’s operating deficits.

As operator of Logan International and Hanscom airports, it has resources, political clout and expertise Worcester’s airport could never match on its own. As the keystone of New England’s air transportation system, Massport is uniquely positioned to identify and nurture niche services that will play a pivotal role in making the airport financially self-sustaining. Massport officials remain convinced Worcester’s airport is a vital aviation resource and have indicated eagerness to stay involved. Indeed, the critical talks leading to a new operating agreement already are under way. Among the issues on the table is exactly what form Massport’s involvement will take. That it will continue to operate the facility should go without saying. Beyond that is the possibility that Massport would at some point assume physical control of the airport — by taking title, perhaps, or via an extended $1-a-year lease arrangement. That would mean, for Massport, flexibility to plan and undertake long-term development strategies and, for Worcester, assurance that the agency’s involvement would continue — in short, a winning outcome for Massport, Worcester and the region’s air transportation system.

December 16, 2006


Daily Service Between Boston and San Juan Begins Today Now Serving 22 Destinations Nonstop From Logan Airport Sale Fares Begin At $85(a) Each Way
NEW YORK, Dec. 13, 2006 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- JetBlue Airways (Nasdaq:JBLU) today continues to expand its presence at Boston's Logan International Airport with the launch of new daily nonstop service to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Flights to San Juan, the low fare carrier's 22nd destination served nonstop from Boston, will operate for the peak winter season through April 30, 2007. To celebrate this new service, JetBlue is offering a low sale fare of $85(a) each way between Boston and San Juan; regular fares range between $129(a) and $399(a) each way.


Just landed at ORH, wonder if this is the one (Coordinates Corp) from the November Board Minutes (on line click here and hit minutes tab). Here is the information from FlightAware.

Gulfstream Aerospace Gulfstream 3 (twin-jet) (GLF3/Q)
Washington Dulles Int'l (KIAD)
Worcester Regional (KORH)

Other flights between these airports
Saturday, Dec 16, 2006
53 minutes
Arrived 35 minutes ago! (track log)

02:00PM EST
02:18PM EST
02:58PM EST
03:11PM EST
454 kts
37000 feet

December 14, 2006

Open Meeting Laws

The district attorney of the county in which the violation occurred is responsible for enforcing the Open Meeting Law at the local and county level. The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the Law at the state level.

If a governmental body fails to follow the Open Meeting Law, three or more registered voters, the district attorney, or the attorney general can seek a court order. The governmental body has the burden of proving that it did not violate the Law. Any court order that is issued can include an order invalidating the action taken at the meeting at issue or an order imposing a fine against the governmental body.

Tonight I found this story on District Attorney Conte's web page, click here . The story details how the Telegram submitted a request in 2004 asking DA Conte's Office to release all Open Meeting Law complaints submitted the past 5 past five years, opinions of the DA's office and the names of those who submitted the complaints.

The DA's office refused to release the names of those who submitted the complaints to protect their confidentiality. More importantly the DA's office wanted to encourage individual citizens to freely come forward with complaints about Open Meeting Law alleged violations without fear of retribution.

The Telegram, in turn, filed an appeal with the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Glad to tell you that the Secretary of the Commonwealth agreed with the DA's Office and would not release the names of the complaintants to the Telegram.

October-2006 Board Minutes

I have them on-line click here and hit tab for board minutes. Some interesting things:

  1. Chairman Delahunty apologized to Commissioner Nemeth for an exchange that they had at the September Meeting. What was the exchange concerning? No idea I do not see anything in the September minutes. Although my guess is at the end of the meeting there was this "the Chairman provided the opportunity for each member to share their thoughts on the departure (of Allegiant) from the Worcester market."
  2. Can we please simply have a vote to give the Airport Director the discretion to allow film crews to utilize ORH, versus taking up valuable time at each meeting. Not only was this issue brought up again, but Commissioner Nemeth has requested more information on the film company? Commissioners should be going through every budget line item losing $2,000,000 per year not discussing the merits of Moody Street Pictures.
  3. Airport budget was discussed, but no numbers were mentioned or budgets printed incorporated into the minutes. How is that possible to exclude the actual budget numbers from the Airport Minutes?
  4. Again no inquiries as to how IMG is doing on their recruitment efforts. No mention of any negotiations with any commercial airlines. At the same time the City Council meeting last Tuesday said that IMG was preparing packages for two airlines, does this mean the Airport Commissioners do not even know that??
In all seriousness the lack of reporting in the minutes is at the point of being ridiculous. An item from the the September meeting where the members discuss why Allegiant may have left ORH is exactly the types of things that they should be doing and private citizens like us be weighing in on. How you can not record what was said, and simply write "ensued".

On the other hand we have paragraphs about how Moody Street Pictures wants to film at ORH. Who cares?? Seriously, we should make it as easy as possible for companies to film ($2,000 per day) and conduct photo-shoots, but leave that up to the discretion of the Airport Director. The Airport Commission they have much more important matters then this!!

You got to love Bob Nemeth, however, asking for more information on the film company? By the way click the link above, they seem like quite reputable company and we should welcome them to use our facilities, at $2,000 per day, at anytime.

Lastly how can the actual budget for ORH not be included in the October minutes?? I will request it.


I caught a piece on the Master Plan on Channel 3 at 10:00PM and they filmed John Krajovic, MassPort employee, saying that ORH's place in the commercial marketplace was a nice markets where people in this area wanted to fly.

All I could think was yeaj, like Allegiant to Sanford?? Wonder if the Master Plan or anything last night was discussed as to why Allegiant could not make money at ORH?? Was anything discussed about Allegiant last night?

Anyone there please comment.

Master Plan

I just had a chance to read the summary of the meeting in the newspaper. First off, I made a mistake the actual Master Plan was not released last night, it was only the final community meeting. The actual plan itself will be released early next year. Lets review the December 10th blog to see what we predicted here:

  • ORH should keep its Part 139 Certification and not downgrade to a GA airport
  • Forecast a medium growth scenario (2010-- 161,000, 2015---215,372, 2020--- 288,524)
  • upgrade terminal and air carrier support facilities
  • RFP developable parcels of land
  • upgrade GA and corporate facilities
  • upgrade airfield infrastructure
  • no recommendations as to how we should pay for any of this or how to lower the deficit
  • no recommendation on an access road nor whether or not we should sell the airport..
  • there will, however, be a footnote to continue negotiations with MassPort to continue the current operating agreement

Pretty much everything was on target. Not only were no recommendations not offered as to how to pay for it, but when asked by City Councilor Lukes as to how much it would cost, no answer was given. Instead Airport Director Waldron noted that only $40 million had been spent since the airport opening in 1946.

My favorite line of all still is that if we reduce travel time to the airport from Route 290, we would increase projected passenger count of 284,000 by the year 2020 some 40% to 395,000. Maybe we should worry more about getting 10,000 passengers next year to keep our primary airport status and $1,000,000, not 284,000 or 395,000 passengers by 2020.

Oh yeah, per John Krajovic, MassPort manager of airport planing and mitigation, "discussions have begun" to extend the state agency's contract to manage Worcester Regional Airport. This gives new meaning to the phrase "when you have a good thing going,why change it." Although when asked if MassPort is considering taking title to the airport, he declined comment.

Welcome all comments here from anyone who attended the meeting last night.

December 13, 2006


The Worcester Municipal Research Bureau just putting out a report suggesting that we close WCCA. To be honest I am not sure how I feel about that other then it kind of amazes me how there we are so concerned when Green Hill loses $100,000 or the closure of WCCA can save the City of Worcester 600,000, but we have an airport losing money consistently for years now at $2,000,000 per year. Even with the subsidy from MassPort, it will cost the tax-payers of Worcester over $1,000,000 this year.

Maybe this is an apples and oranges comparison but I bet you over the next month we will hear all sorts of discussion as to whether we should keep or close WCCA, while there is no discussions on the airport. Seems a little disproportionate especially when we have 199 days until the end of the current MassPort operating agreement.

Master Plan

Tonight at 6:00PM. I am not going to go, but anyone who does I would appreciate your comments.

Airport Mergers

First US Air might try to buy Delta.

Now United might try to buy Continental.

Then there is Airtran's hostile take-over attempt of MidWest...

Lastly Canada's Onex tries to buy Quantas.

What does this all mean?? Lets ask blog favorite Consultant, Mike Boyd:

Airline consultant Michael Boyd said a United-Continental combination, or any other combination for that matter, would not be good for consumers, as it would reduce competition. He described any offer by United as an effort to make "fast money.

Boston City Hall

For Sale!!! SELL ORH!!!! Small portion of the story:

Mayor Thomas M. Menino yesterday unveiled a stunning plan to sell Boston’s City Hall and City Hall Plaza and move the seat of city government to the fast-growing South Boston waterfront. Boston’s new city headquarters could be ready to open for business in four to five years, Menino told business leaders at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce breakfast.
Under Menino’s plan, the new City Hall, pegged at a cost of about $300 million, would open up on the Drydock Four site now occupied by the Bank of America Pavilion just off Northern Avenue. Menino said he already is thinking about the design of Boston’s new waterfront City Hall, which would offer sweeping views of Boston Harbor. Still, the mayor’s dreams of a new waterfront headquarters face significant hurdles. One major drawback of the South Boston site is accessibility and the relative dearth of public transportation lines.

City Hall Plaza sits atop the Government Center subway hub, where the Blue and Green lines converge. By contrast, the proposed site of the new City Hall, in the city-owned Boston Marine Industrial Complex, is served by the fledgling Silver Line bus. But city officials say they already are sketching out new transportation possibilities, including water- taxi service to the new government complex. ......
Menino said he expects the bidding to start at $300 million - and go up from there. He would not rule out the possibility the land could fetch as much as $500 million. Developers suggest it may be worth less than that but acknowledge the site is valuable.

December 12, 2006

200 Days

In case you did not notice, the clock on the left is down to 200 days until the end of the 2nd operating agreement with MassPort. In case anyone forgot this is the 8th year we have had an agreement with MassPort and right now MassPort is covering 68% of the operational deficit not including debt service.

Based on an operating losses of approximately $1,800,000 this equates to $576,000 to the tax-payers of Worcester. Added to that is the debt service, which is approximately another $650,000 and the cost to operate ORH this year (July 2006-June 2007) will be approximately $1,200,000 to the tax-payers of Worcester.


Note Story on SkyValue below. Gary has had SouthEast, Hooters, PanAm and now SkyValue not a very good history. Makes you wonder why Allegiant stays away, maybe they know something the others do not.

Can SkyValue fly where Hooters lost its wings?

SkyValue USA will be flying into Gary with high hopes of soaring where previous airlines have stalled. It won't be easy, according to air industry observers and local travel agents. "I think the problem they will have is they are going after the greater Chicago market, which I would throw Gary into, so they're competing with the bigger airlines out of Midway and O'Hare," said Roger King, senior analyst for transportation with CreditSights, a provider of independent credit research.

SkyValue flights from Gary/Chicago International Airport to five leisure destinations, including Las Vegas and Orlando, start Dec. 15. The Gary airport has been without regularly scheduled airline service since January, when Hooters Air and the "Hooters Girls" made their last flight out. Before that, Southeast Airlines did a 10-month stint there. Before Southeast it was Pan Am.

"Would you rather fly Southwest out of Midway, or these guys out of Gary?" King added. SkyValue's executives say customers already are answering that question, with 10,000 reservations booked since mid-October. "So you live there in Northwest Indiana and want to fly to Vegas and Orlando," SkyValue USA Chief Executive Officer Darrell Richardson said. "What makes us attractive is the free parking, the hassle-free boarding, and the short drive to the airport. That's all good stuff."

SkyValue is touting more than $100 in savings for seven days of parking free at Gary versus Midway and O'Hare. The two big Chicago airports start pricing parking at $12 and $9 per day respectively in outlying economy lots. To park close in costs up to $26 per day. Richardson also is touting what he says is an important difference between SkyValue and airlines that flew out of Gary previously.

"No one has ever come into Gary and said this is where we're gonna be," Richardson said. "Gary is going to be our hub. It's different than anything that's been in there before." The hub for Hooters Airline was Myrtle Beach, S.C., a place "no one wanted to go," airport officials say now. Hooters went to some desirable Florida destinations, but the flights connected through Myrtle Beach and even Columbus, Ohio.

"Those guys (SkyValue) are flying to places people want to go," said Chris Curry, Gary airport director. All SkyValue flights will be direct. That is a big plus, local travel agents says. "People want direct flights; they want nonstop," said Barbara Higby, an agent at Aladdin Travel in Munster. Even so, Aladdin clients are so far leery of booking on SkyValue, which has even less brand recognition than the previous airlines at Gary, she said.

Higby and other travel agents say most customers are still opting for Southwest out of Midway.
The reason region travel agents do much of their booking on Southwest is simple, said Dean Cooper, owner of Griffith Travel Center. "No. 1 would be price," Cooper said. "And real close at No. 2 is nonstop."

Still, the dynamics of the discount airline industry is changing, as leisure airlines such as Allegiant enter the smaller markets and new low-cost players such as JetBlue enter larger markets like Chicago. "We sell a lot of Southwest Airline tickets, but prices on Southwest have been going up, so they're not as discounted as they use to be," Cooper said.

SkyValue initially was offering Las Vegas and Phoenix flights for $89, while comparable Southwest tickets were priced at $109 for those destinations. It would be hard for any leisure airline to measure up to Southwest's schedule, which has 11 daily flights to Phoenix and 12 to Las Vegas from Midway. SkyValue will have two per week to Phoenix and two per week to Las Vegas.

December 11, 2006

One Thought

This is the 8th year that MassPort has been in an operating agreement with the City of Worcester. By stating that we finally have a plan does that mean we have not had a plan the past 8 years?

Telegram Editorial

I predicted yesterday that we would see an Editorial after the Master Plan Meeting on Wednesday praising the plan and that we are on the "right track". I WAS WRONG, the Editorial came out today, two days before the meeting. Here it is:

Flight path

Demand-driven airport plan is cause for optimism

Don’t expect any eye-popping new direction for Worcester Regional Airport in the master plan to be presented at a public meeting on Wednesday. If Worcester has learned anything during its long-running debate over the municipal airport, it is that pursuing a magical formula to transform the underutilized facility into a bustling air transportation hub is counterproductive and futile.

In that context, there is reason for optimism about the action plan for the airport the city administration and Airport Commission have crafted in collaboration with federal aviation officials and, most notably, the Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates the airport.

The master plan properly views scheduled commercial service not only in terms of what might be considered ideal by local officials, but also within the framework of air transportation across the region. It properly focuses not on competing head-on with other New England airports but on identifying and pursuing underserved niche markets and finding ways to complement service provided elsewhere.

Implicit in the plan’s recommendations is the understanding that commercial service at the airport, while essential, is just one component of several that must be in place for long-term success. Consequently, the plan gives appropriate emphasis to the needs of general aviation, outlining a number of measures designed to build on the airport’s strong existing general aviation base.

Sensibly, many of the recommendations for capital improvements at the airport involve items that would benefit general aviation and commercial airlines alike: repaving the runways, improving overshot safety zones, upgrading navigational aids and the like.

The plan also lists some $31 million in improvements that potentially would be made in the long term in response to the demands of commercial, corporate and general aviation. Aside from basic infrastructure and safety measures, the lion’s share of the long-term expenditures would be financed by federal sources and private development on the 1,300-acre airport property.

Work on the airport action plan already is getting under way. Requests for development proposals — one sent out last month, another scheduled to go out in a week or two — envision hangar construction and upgraded service and amenities for corporate jet passengers and crews and small-plane enthusiasts alike.

Expanded corporate and general aviation, developed in tandem with scheduled passenger service, would go a long way toward eliminating the red ink in the airport budget and would generate substantial spinoff in aviation-related economic activity and jobs. The action plan, scheduled to be issued in its final form early next year, charts a realistic course toward realizing the airport’s potential in the region’s air transportation network.


Skybus Airlines received approval yesterday of a loan from the Ohio Development Financing Advisory Council.
The seven-year, $5 million loan at an interest rate of 3 percent is part of an incentive package for the Columbus startup airline that was announced in September.
The loan still needs approval by the State Controlling Board, which is scheduled to meet Dec. 18

SkyValue and Gary

The Gary/Chicago International Airport Authority has begun ponying up advertising money for SkyValue, an airline slated to start regularly scheduled passenger flights from Gary to five destinations on Dec. 15.The airport authority board Wednesday approved spending $35,000 to advertise in prime time on Lakeshore Public Television, WYIN Channel 56.

The television station will contribute $15,000 in advertising time under its contract with the airport.In addition, the airport board authorized $12,000 to advertise SkyValue on the digital billboard located on U.S. 30 at the southbound Interstate 65 off-ramp, in Merrillville.Among incentives the airport offered to land SkyValue is a pledge to match the airline's marketing spending. Airport officials will not say how much they are willing to lay out in marketing funds altogether for SkyValue.

December 10, 2006

Upcoming Telegram Editorial

After the Master Plan on Wednesday, again here will be the highlights as I see it:

  • ORH should keep its Part 139 Certification and not downgrade to a GA airport
  • Forecast a medium growth scenario (2010-- 161,000, 2015---215,372, 2020--- 288,524)
  • upgrade terminal and air carrier support facilities
  • RFP developable parcels of land
  • upgrade GA and corporate facilities
  • upgrade airfield infrastructure
  • no recommendations as to how we should pay for any of this or how to lower the deficit
  • no recommendation on an access road nor whether or not we should sell the airport..
  • there will, however, be a footnote to continue negotiations with MassPort to continue the current operating agreement.
We will then read an Editorial in the Telegram later in the week stating that we are on track,congratulate everyone involved for doing a great job, and now we have a clear path from all these studies to achieve success.

December 09, 2006

IMG Update

For months I have wondered what IMG has been doing with the $100,000 + that we have paid them to retain and recruit commercial airlines. I have found the text in BOLD below in the agenda for next Tuesday's meeting below.

The City continues to work with aviation experts at IMG on various airport related issues, including operational strategies and the identification and marketing of the airport to increase aviation activity. IMG will continue to provide the City with analysis of potential carriers and the creation of specific marketing packages and strategies to these identified airlines. We are focusing our efforts on identifying and recruiting airlines that employ more efficient aircraft and service popular leisure destinations which were identified through the local and FAA-conducted surveys of passenger preferences........

Additionally IMG is preparing route analysis for two prospective airlines. We are working closely with Massport officials to review and make additional recommendations on those packages. Following the finalization of the packages, Massport and the City will meet with representatives of the targeted airlines to determine interest in locating at the airport.


We need to sell or long-term lease (99 years) ORH!!

In recent months we’ve had the opportunity to look at privatizing toll roads in this space, drawing on the experiences of states that have actually gone forward with the procedure.

And in the last week and a half we took a look at the report of a bipartisan commission sponsored by Pennsylvania state government that recommended an increase in gasoline and realty transfer taxes, plus a hike in car registration fees, to help fund what the commission described as a shortfall in both road maintenance and mass transit funding.

Today we get to look at both of these news items together, following the news that Gov. Ed Rendell is interested in soliciting private companies to take out a lease on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Other states have already done this. A private company takes a lease on the toll road for a large upfront payment, which becomes new money for the state government that it would not otherwise have. In return, the company begins collecting tolls and handling upkeep on the roads for a set period, say 75 years.

Naturally, higher tolls would be part of the equation. The last toll increase on the Pennsylvania Turnpike raised hackles, but it came after more than a decade under the previous rates. A private firm would not be so inattentive to the bottom line.

Blue Angels

Rockford AirFest to Host Blue Angels

By Eric Wilson
13 News

ROCKFORD -- One of the best military flying teams in the country will make a stop in Rockford this summer.

The U.S. Navy's Blue Angels will fly into town the first weekend of June, the 2nd and 3rd. They're performing at Rockford AirFest.

There's no official announcement yet from the Rockford Airport. But the Blue Angels website lists Rockford on its schedule.

A Guilford High School graduate, Captain Drew Hess, is pilot of the Blue's support plane "Fat Albert."

December 08, 2006

Frontier Airline

The reason I post this story is not to say that Frontier will come here--they will not. This concept is similar to our idea two years ago to feed JetBlue's hub (JFK) with the Embraer with a couple flights per day. Instead we are discussing turboprops. As we have discussed many many times ORH will never get a multiple daily flights to business destinations like DC, Chicago, etc. Best we can ask for is multiple flights per day to closeby hub.

Frontier Airlines will focus more of its growth on Mexico, Canada and smaller U.S. cities rather than larger markets where it faces fierce competition from Southwest Airlines and other carriers, a company executive said. "The power we have over to generate incremental traffic where they’re not taking their passengers," Paul Tate, the company’s chief financial officer, said today at an airline conference in New York City. "They’re not going to fly to Vail or it’s important for us to take full advantage of those (kinds of) markets."

The company already has plans in place to bring on 10 turboprop planes that will serve cities within a 650-mile radius of Denver, possibly to such underserved destinations as Colorado Springs, Aspen and Jackson Hole, Wyo. It also is bolstering its regional fleet, adding eight net new aircraft. Frontier has come under increasing pressure in Denver this year with the emergence of United Airlines from bankruptcy and the arrival of low-cost giant Southwest.

Part of its strategy has been to diversify away from Denver, in part so it isn’t reliant on one market. The carrier has been expanding its Mexico service and adding flights that don’t involve flying through Denver. And it recently cemented a partnership that allows its customers to earn Frontier frequent flier miles on AirTran Airways flights. Tate said Frontier faces a tough competitive environment at home but is holding its own against Southwest and United.

Interesting Web Site

The Paradies Shops operates over 500 stores in over 60 airports and hotels across the United States and Canada, serving more than a half-billion customers each year. These stores include original, one-of-a-kind brands unique to individual airports to managing stores for national brands.

Outside of airports, The Paradies Shops operates retail locations at the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center (Orlando, Florida), Tropicana Hotel and Casino (Atlantic City, New Jersey) and the Hilton Americas Hotel (Houston, Texas). The company also operates the concession program at the world’s largest aquarium – The Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

December 07, 2006

Master Plan Invitation

City Manager Michael V. O’Brien,
The Worcester City Council
The Massachusetts Port Authority
in cooperation with
The Worcester Regional Airport Commission
The Worcester Legislative Delegation
The Town of Leicester
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)
The Massachusetts Aeronautics Commission (MAC)
Invite you to attend the final
on the

Wednesday, December 13, 2006
at the
Worcester Regional Airport
Terminal Building (second floor)
6:00 – 8:00 PM

The City of Worcester has been working in cooperation with the above stakeholders to develop a comprehensive Master Plan for Worcester Regional Airport. The Master Plan was fully funded by the FAA and MAC and includes a Land Use Analysis section funded by Massport on the 1,300 acres that comprise the entire Airport facility. This is the third and final community meeting held as part of the planning process. The planning team, consisting of Jacobs Consultancy (formerly Leigh Fisher Associates), the FAA, the MAC, the City and our partners at Massport, will present the final Master Plan report including findings and recommendations for current and future Airport development opportunities.

Please RSVP by Friday, December 12, 2006 to:
Philip J. Niddrie

Airport Meeting

Assume that the minutes for October and November will be approved then and we will have them by week's end.

Monday, December 11, 2006
Time: 6:30 PM
Public Agency Meeting
Airport Terminal BuildingConference Room13

RFP Comment From Jahn

Great comment the other day from Jahn that is worthy of a post:

Another quickie perusal of thsi RFP raises a couple more questions.The RFP refereences "Massports Guide to Tenant Constr". Does guide require the constr project to come under the umbrella of the so called prevailing wage laws?...A.k.a. Union Job. If it does, then this is another possible negative in the financial picture.I find it interestign theat Mr Waldron (Airport Dirctor who is supposdly on MP's payroll) is signing the issuance of the RFP and under his name Is Massport Authority, Director. Mr obrien also signs the RFP as City manager.Who does Mr Waldron report to and where are his allegiances?

US Helicopter

Continental Airlines has partnered with US Helicopter, which is expanding its service for the second time in its first year of operation, to offer shuttle service between Manhattan and the airline's Newark hub beginning Dec. 18.

The helicopter shuttle ride will take eight minutes and will cost $159 one-way, plus security fees. US Helicopter customers traveling on Continental flights will be able to check in and receive boarding passes for US Helicopter and Continental as well as complete security screening at the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at Wall Street.

Bags checked at the heliport will be checked through to the passenger's final travel destination. At Newark Liberty Airport, customers will arrive at a dedicated US Helicopter parking location on the secure side of Terminal C, where they will then be able to proceed directly to the departure gate for their Continental flight. "This is a premium service for premium flyers wanting to save valuable time," said Mark Erwin, Continental's senior vice president Asia/Pacific and corporate development.

US Helicopter, which launched service in February, already partners with American on its service from Manhattan to New York's Kennedy Airport. In June it began service from the airport in Bridgeport, Conn., to Manhattan and, via Manhattan to Kennedy. This past November, it acquired another $4.5 million in financing, which it plans to use for marketing and working capital.

US Helicopter has said it expects to add service from a second New York location, the East 34th Street Heliport, shortly after Jan. 1. It currently operates from only the Downtown Manhattan Heliport at the foot of the East River and Wall Street, and opening the second location has been contingent on working out security arrangements. US Helicopter said it believes adding the second location will lead to more interline and partnership agreements with major carriers serving Newark, Kennedy and LaGuardia airports in the New York area.

December 06, 2006

Airport Master Plan

Rutlant, Vermont Master Plan:

FAIR HAVEN — The airport committee will focus on repairing the hangar and wait until March to revisit the runway.Last month, voters rejected moving into the next phase of the airport master plan. The plan calls for re-angling and extending the runway at the municipal airport as part of a long-term effort to develop and upgrade the facility.The $6,000 ballot item was defeated, 527-465.

Voters approved, by similar margins, other ballot items allocating a $15,000 match for a grant to repair the roof of the hangar and allowing the airport committee more flexibility in the use of town funds in maintaining and improving the grounds.Airport committee chairman William Rozensky said Tuesday that while there had been talk in town of petitioning for a revote, no petition materialized.

For the immediate future, he said the committee would focus on the hangar by pursuing the grant."In the meantime, we want to keep the hangar from deteriorating any more," he said. "Our objective is to have the roof wrapped in plastic. It should be done ASAP, before the snow really starts flying."

Once that is squared away, Rozensky said the committee plans to begin trying to again sell the voters on the airport master plan in time for Town Meeting Day.The plan would lengthen the 1,990-foot runway to 2,600 feet, while widening it from 25 to 60 feet. Rozensky has estimated the cost at $3 million, but said the project is eligible for a Federal Aviation Administration grant that could put the town's share as low as $60,000.

The FAA announced in March that the project had been placed on its five-year plan for capital improvements in New England, and that it would likely make its way to the top of the list by 2010. Rozensky said a March vote to approve the next phase — preliminary design of the new runway — would keep the town on the list.Rozensky has long argued that there is a market in the area for a functioning airport of the size that can be provided in Fair Haven and that it would be an invaluable tool for the town's economic development.

Built in the 1930s, the airport has been used primarily for local recreation in recent memory.

December 05, 2006

Allegiant IPO

Whatever happened to DJ Air Group? We really blew it with Allegiant. $73 million means new jets, but after the way we treated them after they left ORH, we have no chance of luring them back.

NEW YORK — Allegiant Travel Co., a Las Vegas-based airline operator aimed at leisure travelers in small cities, plans to sell 5 million shares in an initial public offering next week, hoping to raise up to $85 million.

The company expects an IPO price range of between $15 and $17 per share, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Allegiant Travel plans to use the expected $73 million in net proceeds to retire $900,000 in secured debt owed to Chief Executive Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., buy additional aircraft and pay for general corporate purposes.

Allegiant Travel said it focuses on areas where competitors, including network and low-cost airlines, are unlikely to start service. It flies from cities including Duluth, Minn., and Allentown, Pa. Among Allegiant Travel's biggest shareholders are CEO Gallagher, ComVest Allegiant Holdings LLC and Viva Air Ltd.

The offering's underwriters include Merrill Lynch, Bear Stearns and Raymond James. The company plans for its shares to trade on the Nasdaq under the ticker symbol "ALGT."

December 03, 2006

Master Plan

Over the past three years we have waited for three studies on the aiport. The first was the report from IMG. Although it was a comprehensive summary of the current status of ORH, it really did not have any earth-shattering revelations. In fact the cost of $100,000 seemed pretty high. Worse yet we ended up retaining IMG after this study, at a cost of an additional $100,000, to help us retain or recruit commercial airlines. To date we have not heard one word as to how IMG has done or is doing.

The second study was New England Regional Air Study Plan. This report painted a rosy picture for ORH forecasting 275,000 to 550,000 passengers by the year 20202.

On December 13th the results from the last report, the Master Plan will be revealed at the airport. What will it say??
  • ORH should keep its Part 139 Certification and not downgrade to a GA airport
  • Forecast a medium growth scenario (2010-- 161,000, 2015---215,372, 2020--- 288,524)
  • upgrade terminal and air carrier support facilities
  • upgrade GA and corporate facilities
  • upgrade airfield infrastructure

There will, however, be no recommendations as to how we should pay for any of this, how we can cut costs to lower the deficit, should we have an access road nor whether or not we should sell the airport.. There will, however, be a footnote to continue negotiations with MassPort to continue the current operating agreement.

Although the cost for the Master Plan is $400,000, the good news is that 90% was paid by the FAA and the other 10% was picked up by the Mass Aeronautics Commission. Between IMG and Leigh Fisher (now Jacobs) not to mention the New England Regional Air Study Plan, there has been over $600,000 spent on consulting fees, but none came from the City of Worcester coffers. FAA--360,000, Mass Aeronautics $40,000, DOT Small Community Air Service Grant 200,000.

The best thing part of the Master Plan is that on December 14th, there will be no more studies that management will have to wait for. By the way neither the minutes of either the October or November Airport Commission minutes have made on to the city website yet.

December 02, 2006

Allegiant Pulls Out of Stewart

Well, Allegiant has ended service from another city. In the past I have mentioned many times that since Allegiant ended service from ORH, they had not stopped anywhere else. Now they have stopped from Stewart, but the reasons were much different. Competition from Airtran and JetBlue were the main reasons. Can't blame Allegiant.

Allegiant Air terminates Stewart service

Stewart Airport – Allegiant Airways Friday announced it was ending its flight schedule between Stewart Airport at Newburgh and its Florida destinations. Airline President Maurice Gallagher, Jr. cited “escalating competitive conditions within the market” as the reason for the pull out.
While Allegiant has been providing four-day per week service to Orlando Sanfordand had announced new service to St. Petersburg/Clearwater in January.

It was widely speculated that the Las Vegas-based airline would withdraw from the market n
ow that AirTran and JetBlue both announced ambitious schedules between the Hudson Valley and Florida in the weeks ahead. Allegiant’s last day of operation in the market will be Jan. 11, 2007. It has arranged for all customers traveling January 12 and beyond to be accommodated on another carrier. Affected customers will be contacted by Allegiant directly. All customers will also have the option of receiving a full refund.

Allegiant Air began service to Orlando Sanford International Airport from Stewart International Airport October 27, 2005. The airline will offer flights to the Tampa Bay area via the St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport Dec. 13, 2006 through Jan. 11, 2007.

December 01, 2006

2007 Airport Budget

Thanks anonymous. Click here:

Start at page 112--it is about 9 pages long. Current debt as of July 1st, 2006, is $4,560,000--not bad actually. This debt assuming we took no other debt will reduce each year and be paid off by 2019.

The thing that I find the most interesting is that Worcester Regional Airport has a Five Year Capital Plan estimated at $22,950,000!!!! How are we going to pay for this??

"The five year capital investment program will continue to be financed using Airport Revenues, FAA grants, MAC grants and when necessary, tax levy funding."

Right now we are on track to lose the $1,000,000 per year from the FAA for not reaching 10,000 passengers and Airport Revenues??? I imagine "tax levy funding" means issuing more bonds. This is pretty scary...

Anonymous, there is no mention here , however, about the number of employees at ORH and whether they work for the City of Worcester or MassPort???


I don't get it.... We are putting out an RFP (Request for Proposal) that:

  • Asking someone else to build a first class General/Corporate Aviation facility on a 4.5 acre parcel owned by ORH
  • Proposer does not own property but pays a ground lease of approximately 48,000 per year for 20 years, with an option to renew the lease for 10 years
  • In addition to the rent, the successful proposer will have to pay a portion of their collected parking fees and fuel flowage fees to the City of Worcester not to mention of portion of labor, parts and restaurant sales
  • During course of the lease any sub-letting of the successful proposer needs to be approved by the airport commission
I really do not see how any can recoup their investment in a facility like this with these terms. Honestly will be surprised if their is many actual proposals requiring a $10,000 deposit submitted.

November 30, 2006

Telegram Editorial on Open Meeting Laws

Great editorial. Please note that neither the minutes for regularly scheduled October meeting Airport Commission or the special November meeting are on-line yet. Could not agree more with this editorial:

Backdoor politics Northbridge, Leominster skirt Open Meeting Law

With disheartening regularity in Massachusetts, public officials choose to ignore their legal obligation to conduct the public’s business in public. Recent attempts to avoid public scrutiny in Northbridge and Leominster are cases in point. With a few exceptions — notably for personnel matters and negotiations where public scrutiny would have adverse effects on a community’s position — the Open Meeting Law requires all meetings of public boards to be posted and conducted in public. The rationale is simple: to safeguard against backdoor dealing that excludes full public discussion and scrutiny. In Leominster this week, Mayor Dean J. Mazzarella cried foul after city councilors postponed action on a series of appropriations, in a move clearly choreographed out of the public eye. The mayor had heard talk in City Hall Monday about the planned action — and, indeed, almost every agenda item was postponed that night. Robert A. Salvatelli, council president, acknowledged one-on-one discussions before the meeting, but said there was no gathering of a council quorum in violation of the law.

There is no reason to suspect nefarious motives, but the fact that councilors likely had nothing to hide makes the prearranged move even more perplexing. As Mr. Mazzarella noted, “Whether it’s a breach of the law or a breach of faith, it’s bad government.” In Northbridge, the violations are still clearer. After investigating a complaint by former Town Manager Michael J. Coughlin, the Worcester district attorney’s office notified the town on Nov. 22 that exchanges of e-mail on public business by the Board of Selectmen and Finance Committee were in violation of the law. Use of e-mail for routine scheduling matters is permissible, but investigators concluded the “voluminous e-mails” to a quorum of board members discussing board business constituted clear violations of the Open Meeting Law. Whatever the boards’ intent, their practices clearly excluded the public. Mr. Coughlin put it succinctly: “There was a government behind a government on computer screens of a select few.”

Open government is good government. Too often, public officials ignore the fact that, in Massachusetts, open government is also the law.

Information request

Letter mailed today:

To: Airport Liaison Phil Niddrie
Re: Financial Information on ORH

Can you please get me the following information:

1) Salary/wages paid to each employee in fiscal year ending June, 2006 by position as well whether the employee worked for the City of Worcester or MassPort. In addition current status (active or terminated); for example:





2) Bond details including original amount, interest rate, amount still owed at the end of fiscal year ending June, 2006 and maturity; for example:

Original Amount

Owed June, 2006

Interest Rate



Bill Randell

November 29, 2006

Anonymous Blogger

In my blog earlier today complimenting City Councilor Rosen, there are many comments including one from an anonymous blogger who states there are 19 City Empoyees and 5 MassPort employees.

Anonymous please enlighten us and post a comment the link to that budget where you found this information or advise where/how we can access the information?

Airport Budget

Auditor Report 2005

page 110

no mention of the number of employees

Kudos to Councilor Rosen Again

Tonight's meeting, here is some of the information that was discussed by Councilor Rosen. First, MassPort discussions should be wrapped up by the end of February/beginning of March and the City Manager is confident that MassPort will renew their agreement with the City of Worcester. Second, the 10,000 passenger mark, which Allegiant provided this year, has to be from commercial activity. If we do not get 10,000 commercial passengers next year, we will lose $1,000,000 in grants from the FAA.

Although I believe MassPort will renew the agreement, I ask why? This is the end of the second agreement spanning 8 years and are losses have only increased each year, currently at $2,000,000 per year, and we have no commercial service. As I have stated many times, I do not blame MassPort, in fact I thank them for keeping the doors open the past 8 years. These current agreements simply give MassPort no incentive since they will never realize any returns if they were to invest capital in the form of money or time. We need to either sell of long-term lease (99 years) ORH to MassPort.

Assuming we do get another 3 year extension, whereby ORH is responsible for a percentage of the operating losses, while paying 100% of the debt service, a loss of an additional 1,000,000 next year, if we do not hit 10,000 commercial passengers (primary airport status) will cost the the tax-payers even more.

Airtran Next City Survey

Thank you for your interest in the AirTran Airways Next City Survey. The survey has now ended. We appreciate your input. We have selected Phoenix, AZ, as our next destination.


Yesterday the blog had its 100,000 page download. Considering the blog started the beginning of September of last year, it actually amazes me that the blog hit 100,000 yesterday.

November 28, 2006

Bob Nemeth Article

Today there is another Editorial in the Telegram stating that we are going in the right direction.
Couple of thoughts--"prompt action on the long-term land use"?? Myself I have heard about this RFP for at least two years?? We needed a Master plan to tell us to promote aviation-related development of the airport's 1300 plus acres? Here is the editorial:

Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Moving ahead

Airport initiative in keeping with master plan

Anticipating the unveiling of the master plan for Worcester Regional Airport, city officials already are acting on one of its major recommendations.

The final version of the master plan is scheduled to be presented at a public meeting Dec. 13 at the airport. The plan, in part, calls for expanding the facility’s vigorous general aviation component and re-establishing scheduled commercial passenger service.

Progress on the third major element of the plan — promoting aviation-related development on some of the airport’s 1,300-plus acres in Worcester and Leicester — is outlined in a report to the City Council tonight.

The administration’s prompt action on the long-term land-use program is welcome.

As a first step, the city this month issued a request for development proposals for 4.5 acres within the airport’s secure area. Because the parcel has direct runway and taxi-lane access, the city and Massport consider it ideal for hangars, amenities for future commercial passenger activities and support services for corporate, private and charter aircraft. Other potential uses might include aircraft maintenance and parking, engine repair, flight instruction and air-taxi service.

The request has been sent to 50 potential developers, including many that have expressed specific interest in the airport.

While scheduled passenger service remains a priority, expanding corporate and general aviation could reduce the red ink in the airport budget substantially. For example, one large corporate jet based at the airport would generate hundreds of thousands of dollars each year in revenue, city officials say, and have a total impact in jobs, fuel purchases, maintenance and other services exceeding $1.5 million a year.

A key objective articulated in the master plan is to maximize revenue and economic activity and create jobs — while reserving land that might be needed for aviation use in the foreseeable future. The initial request for development proposals is a significant step in the right direction

November 27, 2006

Rockford and Cargo

— It takes about four hours for Polar Air Cargo to land, taxi and unload a plane at Chicago O’Hare International Airport. Officials at Chicago/Rockford International Airport claim it would take half that time here. They’re recruiting one of O’Hare’s biggest cargo carriers, hoping to get it to bring its 23 flights a week and 150 jobs here.

“We’re trying to show them, not just Polar Air but other people, it’s a more convenient place,” said Derek Martin, deputy director of the Rockford airport. He said the company is considering Rockford’s offer, but he doesn’t know when it will respond. Polar Air Cargo would be Rockford’s second-biggest operator — UPS flies 30 planes a week.

Polar Air Cargo officials didn’t return calls seeking comment. The Polar Web site said the company connects major cargo markets in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Far East through frequent Boeing 747 freighter service. Polar and its sister company, Atlas Air Inc., are wholly owned subsidiaries of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings Inc.