May 31, 2007

New England Regional Air Study Plan

Remember this?? Click here if you do not. This was one of the three reports that we were waiting for the last three years, along with the $100,000 report from IMG and the Master Plan from Leigh Fisher, now Jacobs Consulting. Now that I mentioned it, we have never seen the final Master Plan??? Ironic isn't it that we will most likely see the Master Plan after ORH has either been leased long-term or sold to MassPort?

The reason I bring up the New England Regional Air Study Plan is that the airport in Chicopee was not even one of the eleven airports even considered in the plan. It just goes to show you that waiting around for reports to be done by consultants is not a recipe for success.

Although I am extremely disappointed that Skybus has picked Chicopee, we have to give Chicopee credit. An airport that I had no idea even wanted commercial service, and was not even considered in the New England Regional Air Study Plan was able to land Skybus. Kudos to Chicopee...

May 30, 2007

Skybus add Chicopee!!!

Thanks Tim MacDonald!!! Yup, you got that right Skybus adds Chicopee (Westover). Check out the story.

Chances of Skybus adding ORH, when Chicopee is so close, seem very remote at best. Not sure what deal Chicopee offered Skybus, but whatever it was we should have at least matched it. Sorry, but unlike Hooters, TransMeridian, SouthEast and SkyValue, who were undercapitalized start-ups that ended up stiffing many of the cities that they serviced, Skybus is the real deal like Allegiant.

Wow, this one really hurts.

May 26, 2007


Great story on Florida based Dayjets, an air taxi company, similar to Massachusetts based Linear Air, both of whom have made a large investment in the Eclipse 500. Looks like the Eclipse will be coming on line soon. Maybe ORH should be talking to Linear to base on of their Eclipses here?

May 25, 2007

City Budget

Check out the line item in the city budget on the airport, click here. In particular page 12 that cites a 750,000 savings. Not sure how this number was arrived at, check out the April 26 blog.
Through 9 months of this fiscal year, I have ORH costing the City of Worcester approximately 812,000 and MassPort another 661,000...

Does this mean Massport will only pay the operating deficit and not the debt service?? We will see.

May 22, 2007


Starts today!!!

May 19, 2007

Two Million for Airport

Here is the story from the Telegram. ORH is getting $2,000,000 from the FAA to improve runways and possibly build a new one. This is the first of many good things to come as MassPort takes over ORH.

Believe me that it was MassPort and not our airport administration that got ORH $2,000,000. My bet is by the end of the year, you will see commercial service once MassPort takes over and the remaining balances in the DOT Small Community Air Service Grant will be spent. Don't get me wrong, I still think we should have expanded the net looking to privatize ORH but the new agreement (either long-term lease or outright sale to MassPort) will be a huge improvement

May 17, 2007

Land RFP BIdder

I was e-mailed the following answer as to who the bidder was from our airport liaison:

"Sorry for the delay. Our system was down today and I was in Boston most of the day yesterday. We are not at liberty to disclose the name at this time because there is an internal process that must take place first. The evaluation of the response is being done by a team of people from the city and Massport."

Land RFP

Airport Liaison responded back to my question. There was one responder to the most recent land RFP. I have asked our Airport Liaison who that was and am awaiting his response.

May 16, 2007

April Board Minutes

On line, click here. Truly classic:

  1. no mention of any airline negotiations
  2. no mention of any negotiations with MassPort
  3. no mention of the operating deficit
  4. no discussion at all that the current operating is agreement is ending in less then 3 months
  5. RFP for the land parcels are due April 30th. I have e-mailed our airport liaison to see how many have submitted bids. My bet is zero.

The only good part is that it looks like photo shoots will not have to be approved by the Board and that the airport director can approve these on his own. Total time of meeting 33 minutes.

May 15, 2007


What can you say about ORH? Right now the next 46 days may determine the future of ORH for the next 20 - 30 years. Bottom line I do not see how any airline can come here or anyone can bid on the land RFP, until they know what the future holds. Although I will keep posting airline information, right now the new operating agreement effective July 1st should be our number one concern.

May 10, 2007

DOT Grant & Rockford Blogger

Again thanks Rockford Blogger for Southern Skyway.

As I review the numbers below, I can not help but think the $100,000 for a consultant seems hire, especially when you consider we had already paid them $100,000 for their initial study. I would rather have seen Allegiant getting that money or even some of the $285,000 that appears to me, we have left to spend.

This goes back to some other comments the other day regarding if we were applying for another grant. I highly doubt the DOT would approve a new application for monies when we still have not spent the monies from the first grant.

May 09, 2007

Small Community Air Service Grant

I know have all six reports filed with the DOT, here is my summary:

IMG 101,262.90
Advertising 44,989,.37
Allegiant 23,615,.51
Events 11,776.82
Material 9,750.00
LaMar 8,610.00
WXLO 5,060.00
Telegram 3,720.00
Tornadoes 3,200.00
Creedon 2,515.10
Advocate 2,500.00
Charter 2,400.00
WSRS 2,300.00
Waldron 1,947.60
Graphics 1,560.50
Radio Ad 1,500.00
Services 1,260.00
Vocero 1,198.12
Printing 1,001.15
Worc Chamber 1,000.00
Fliers 920.00
Curry Copy 719.16
Ballons 275.00

Total 234,321,.20

We are reimbursed at a rate of 72.73% so if all of these expenses were approved (assume that they were), ORH has received 170,421.79. I believe the initial grant was for 455,000 so it appears to me that we have 285,000 remaining in our Small Community Air Service Grant.

I willl e-mail this blog to our Airport Liaison to see if this makes sense.

Myrtle Beach Direct Air

Add these guys to the list

Myrtle Beach Direct Air

Thanks Rockford Blogger

May 08, 2007

Charters For Starters

Whats new Rockford has another great idea. Instead of ever hiring another consultant, all we need to do is copy everything these guys do. To long to summarize, click here for the story in Rockford Register my blog favorite Thomas Bona.

May 06, 2007

Small Community Air Service Grant

As a follow-up to the comments in the prior blog, let me make a few comments on the Small Community Air Service Grant. In the fall of 2004, the City of Worcester received a $455,000 Small Community Air Service Grant from the DOT, mainly due to the efforts of Congressman McGovern, after failing in two previous attempts. Many things were stipulated in the application including preparation of 5, or maybe 6,airline packages to recruit and retain a commercial airline as well as 6 months of free parking.

Although a Blue Ribbon Committee was suppose to be assembled to determine how the monies were to be spent, it was not and sole discretion was left up to the Airport Commission. Immediately the 6 months of free parking in the application was abandoned, when Allegiant came to ORH. This was a mistake since any othersuccessful second-tier airport located in close proximity to a major airport not only offer free parking. but market that fact extensively. To date, I know that two packages have been prepared. To whom were they sent or what is the status, I have no idea and I never received them .

How has the $455,000 been spent?? Recently even Airport Commissioner Nemeth mentioned in one of his Sunday stories that he was unsure how the monies have been spent. In addition my request for all the qtrly reports filed with the DOT on this grant over a month ago has not been answered.

In the past the airport administration said that another application could not be applied for while a grant was outstanding. The current $455,000 was to be spent over three years. Although I believe this factually incorrect, I have found out that the DOT puts alot of weight into a new application based on the performance of past grants. What do we have to show for the $455,000 grant that the DOT has already given us?? Other then IMG (consultant), who has received approximately $200,000 of the grant, our return has not been very good and I highly doubt another application for more monies would have been received very favorably.

May 02, 2007


In the airline industry these start-ups are very risky. Can you say:

  1. TransMeridian
  2. Hooters
  3. LeHigh Valley Air
  4. SouthEast

Looks like SkyValue has joined the above ranks. Although risky, it is start-ups like these that we need to consider, who may take a chance on ORH and for us to re-establish ourselves as a legitimate option. Obviously we need to be careful and not throw marketing monies at these second-tier carriers, like it looks like Gary, Indiana may have done.

At the same time if I would rather have spent 200,000 of the DOT Small Community Air Service Grant monies trying to keep Allegiant at ORH, or another second-tier carrier, then a consultant (IMG). Bottom line scratch SkyValue from the list. Skybus, however, still intrigues me.

May 01, 2007

Councilor Irish Urges More Airport Talks

Article in today's paper from Councilor Irish says

“Currently, we are only engaged with Massport about the airport’s future and that may not necessarily get us the best deal possible for this valuable asset,” Mr. Irish said. The councilor said he would like to see the city manager meet with investment bankers to see how the city can pitch the airport to groups that deal with infrastructure funds.

I could not agree more; however we have been saying this very thing since right after the current agreement was signed in 2004. Let me set the record straight: The idea of privatization (section about it) was brought to Chairman's Nemeth attention who told us to submit the concept of privatization to the February, 2005 Airport Board Meeting. Instead I have had to read editorials by Mr Nemeth that we should sell ORH to MassPort, which I always think was and is conflict of interest as an Airport Board Member. In the end the idea was dismissed, since IMG did not feel there would be any potential buyers. This never made any sense to me then or now and as I have said what did we have to lose to attempt it. In fact is there not a fiduciary responsibility to the tax-payers of Worcester to get the highest return on our assets?

I agree whole-heartedly with Councilor Irish (and Councilor Rosen who has been saying this also for months), but let me add that we should invite the airport authorities that run Providence, Hartford and Manchester to ORH. In addition, maybe more importantly, we should invite National Express, the company that took Stewart Airport in Newburgh, New York private, but has recently sold the airport back to the Port of Authority of New York and New Jersey for a rather large profit. Let us not forget Harry Tembenis suggestions that we should consider European Airlines that may want to set-up shop in the US like Ryan Air, Easy Jet and Virgin America. I say call Eclipse, SouthWest and JetBlue to see if there is any interest there. Bottom line leave no stone unturned.

Lastly I commend Councilor Irish for putting this idea forward, but wonder why we did not start doing this the day the current agreement was signed on July 1st, 2004, rather then two months before the expiration when we will own 100% of both the operating deficit and debt service. Is 60 days enough time to do all of this?