June 30, 2007

New Bedford Airport

Story from SouthCoastToday:

NEW BEDFORD — The city is actively pursuing a return of passenger airline service to New Bedford Regional Airport. "We've made contact with various people in the industry," said James Burgess, chairman of the city's Airport Commission. "We're looking at established carriers right now. Whoever we brought in, we'd want them to be successful."

Mr. Burgess said the commission would like to see the return of connecting flights to a major airport hub, like Newark, N.J. or New York City. The airport can handle small jets that carry up to 50 passengers, he said, but the service might also be handled by a smaller, turbo-prop airplane. "We're never going to be a Providence or a Logan," Mr. Burgess said, "but there is a large population in and around the airport that could be served by such a service."

The service would provide three round trips a day to a hub. Mayor Scott W. Lang said he is pushing for a return of passenger service to a major hub, too. Cape Air already flies out of New Bedford to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, carrying 24,000 passengers a year, according to the city airport's Web site. "We're looking at all options to make the airport an economic development engine for the city and the region," he said.

If and when the commission were to convince a carrier to launch passenger service out of New Bedford two things would have to happen, Mr. Burgess said. The airport would have to re-apply for certification for passenger service. Even though Cape Air already flies out of the airport, the facility would have to receive a different certification for the service being proposed. The move would also require significant upgrades to the security system at the airport, because larger airports in Newark or New York require that bags and passengers be screened according to guidelines from the Federal Aviation Administration. Mr. Burgess said the cost of getting certified and the upgrades "would depend on the airline flying," he said.

According to a story in the Boston Globe last week, Skybus Airlines, a new Ohio-based airline offering fares as low as $10 one-way, will begin offering service out of Westover Metropolitan Airport in Chicopee, to Columbus, Ohio, on July 16. Westover currently does not offer passenger service. Skybus began service to the Boston area recently when flights began from Columbus to Portsmouth International Airport in New Hampshire The airline focuses on airports that are located an hour away from major airports, as well as flying into major airports from smaller airports.

Mr. Burgess said he had not read the Globe story about Skybus but was interested in the announcement.

June 29, 2007

1.85 Million Grant for Westover

From the Republican:

The city has received a $1.85 million state grant to fund renovations and improvements at Westover Metropolitan Airport. The state Opportunity Relocation and Expansion Jobs Capital Program is providing $100 million in grants statewide to improve public infrastructure with the goal of promoting economic expansion and job growth.

The $1.85 million will be used by airport owner Westover Metropolitan Development Corp. for utilities improvements, increased capacity for hangar upgrades, the reconstruction of Hangar Drive, finishing upgrades to Industrial Park Road and nearly doubling airport parking spaces.
"It's very timely for us," said Allan W. Blair, president and chief executive officer of Westover Metropolitan Development Corp., yesterday. "We wouldn't have been able to do all this work without the grant."

The timeliness of the grant is tied to a discount passenger carrier, Skybus Airlines, that is set to start offering service on July 16. Skybus is the first regular passenger service at the airport since the late 1980s. Skybus will offer once-daily flights on Airbus A319 jets to Columbus, Ohio from the airport, which includes 188 acres in the civilian portion of Westover Air Reserve Base.
Mayor Michael D. Bissonnette said the grant, which is overseen by the state Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, was a joint application of the city, Westover Metropolitan Development Corp. and Skybus.

"It's a pretty significant piece of the airport puzzle," Bissonnette said. "This will solve the parking issue. It will also provide some infrastructure needs to the areas near the hangars."
State Rep. Joseph F. Wagner, D-Chicopee, made the grant announcement with other area legislators yesterday afternoon. "Not only is the civil aviation division of the Westover Metropolitan Development Corporation poised to take a giant step forward, but this will mean hundreds of new jobs for local citizens," said Wagner, chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation, in a statement.

Blair said it's one of the largest grants the corporation has received over the years.
"This is really very important and helpful. It really spurs economic growth and job expansion," Blair said.

June 28, 2007

Councilor Irish for Mayor

Councilor Irish announced his candidacy for Mayor yesterday. Since then I have heard him on WTAG (Jordan Levy) last night, WTAG (George Brown) and 830AM (Peter Blute) this morning. Although I did not hear the entire parts of the program, I did not hear him mention ORH once his idea about a month ago to invite investment bankers to Worcester and pitch the airport to infrastructure fund managers and investors.

June 26, 2007

June 24, 2007

Nemeth Article

Sorry, there is no story from part Airport Chairman and current Commissioner Nemeth, instead we have an editorial . Before you read the editorial, do you think the editorial is critical about the decision to extend the current agreement six months? Shocker, but the editorial praises the decision to "take time to get airport agreement right." Did we not have three years to get this agreement done "right". What exactly will six more months provide of time provide to help get it done "right".

In addition we all now know what the exact terms of the said agreement will be so why don't we put these number out on the street, test the marketplace and see if anyone else may be interested in paying more, let me explain. First you need to understand that airport breaks there losses (there are no profits) into two categories:

  1. non-operating (mainly debt service) approximately 800,000
  2. operating losses approximately 1,400,000
Right now the operating agreement consists of MassPort subsidizing 68% (952,000) of the operating losses while the tax-payers of Worcester paying the remaining 32% (448,000) and 100% of the non-operating losses. Obviously these numbers change slightly as the underlying losses change, but you get the picture.

Now the deal on the table is as follows:
  1. non-operating expenses will be paid 100% by the tax-payers of Worcester
  2. operating losses will be paid 100% by MassPort
In the end the City of Worcester would save not having to pay 32% of an operating deficit, which currently means a savings of $448,000 based on an operating loss of 1,400,000. It will, however, still cost the taxpayers of Worcester approximately 800,000 per year for the non-operating expenses.

In the end MassPort would pick up this 32% portion and pay the entire operating deficit, now at 1,400,000. Bottom line is that MassPort would in essence be leasing the entire airport for 1,400,000. Now consider this, what if MassPort were to divert some flights to ORH and start making on money on the airport and eventually wipe out the operating deficit? The cost to lease ORH would in essence be nothing.

All I am trying to say is that a deal whereby a leasing entity would have to pay the operating deficit, which is currently at 1,400,000, but have the ability to lower their lease costs by running an efficient profitable airport to nothing would seem pretty attractive??? Today's editorial should have been "now that we all know the selling price of ORHG", lets test the marketplace to ensure we are getting the highest return for the tax-payers or Worcester. Once again the Telegram comes up short.

June 22, 2007

Press on the Airport

Still a little surprised and confused about the press coverage regarding the airport. The extension of MassPort to continue the subsidy for another 6 months was portrayed as a good thing and that somehow we would be saving money since there is a subsidy. In actuality, the extension only continues the past 8 years of poor performance 6 more months and will cost the tax-payers approximately $540,000.

Also surprised that there was not more of a reaction from our City Councilors????

June 21, 2007

Telegram Story

Here is the story from the Worcester Telegram regarding the extension. Please note that even when MassPort takes over ORH either through a long-term lease or outright sale that the debt service will still be the responsibility of ORH, which is approximately 600,000 to 700,000 per year.

We need to invite companies like National Express, who ran Stewart and are selling it for a a tidy profit, and investment bankers as Councilor Irish has recommended to look at ORH.

Final Decision--No Decision

Hate to say this, not really, I was right again. The current agreement will be extended 6 months, here is the story, note the head-line "Bail-out" and the "torturous drive" comment--not exactly positive PR for ORH.

Right now the airport is costing us (the tax-payers of Worcester) 90,000 per month based on the numbers from the first 9 months of this fiscal year. In other words this 6 months extension could cost the tax-payers of Worcester $540,000!!!

We had three years (length of the current agreement) to work on this and now we need another 6 months at $540,000? If this is the path that we have chosen then lets put the airport out for sale to anyone and everyone , invite companies like National Express or anyone else to ORH.

Sorry, but I can say anything good about this when I actually thought the future would be changing for the better on July 1st. Now we are looking at another 6 months where nothing will happen at a cost to the tax-payers of Worcester of over a half million dollars by not being able to come up with something, anything, the past three years.

I can not wait to read Mr Nemeth's column this Sunday.

June 20, 2007

10 Days

Right now the most important issue facing ORH is what the management/ownership structure will be on July 1st. Obviously the past two operating agreements the past 8 years with MassPort have not worked.

10 days to find out.

June 19, 2007

11 Days

The current operating agreement has 11 days to go. What will happen during this time:

  1. An agreement will be presented to either outright sell or long-term lease ORH and be approved.
  2. The current agreement will be extended short-term to work out the details of number 1.

I am leaning towards #2.

June 17, 2007

Allegiant Map

I have not checked this out for a while. Click here. Sorry to bring this up but Allegiant. As we all know Las Vegas was their first destination and then they added Sanford. Since Allegiant departed ORH, St Pete's has been added as a third destination and now flies to 14 cities.

Should I say it again?? We missed a big opportunity with Allegiant to re-establish ORH as a viable option.

June 16, 2007

Bob Nemeth

We are due for a Sunday Editorial from ex-Chairman and current Airport Commissioner Nemeth on ORH.


I absolutely love flying with them. Think everyone must remember the incident at JFK where people sat in their plane for hours. Since that time JetBlue has made alot of changes, including replacing Neeleman. Let me tell you a little about my delays with them.

Both times my flights were delayed, I received a $50 credit (believe that was the amount) for the inconvenience. Most recently flying from Orlando with a late flight, I showed up early and was able to take the earlier flight for an extra $30.

Can not say enough about them. Now if I could get dropped off at ORH, hop on a Cape Air flight, fly to Logan bypass the security lines at Logan, traffic, parking fees etc and then connect with JetBlue to fly direct . How good would that be???

Sorry, for all those SouthWest fans there is no comparison between JetBlue and SouthWest although the "ding" ads from SouthWest are much better then any of JetBlue's ads.

June 15, 2007

May Airport Minutes

Still not on-line. Correction, it is now on-line, click here.

Nothing on prospective airlines or status of negotiations with MassPort.

June 14, 2007

Postive/Negative Blog

I honestly hope that this blog is neither. In fact I truly believe that the website and blog try to portray an accurate picture of ORH. To that end, let me give you an example. Before I do, I can not say enough about JetBlue. Unless you have flown JetBlue, you do not know what I mean.

I have put alot of emphasis into the City of Worcester putting a big time effort into getting Cape Air to fly out of ORH with a code-sharing agreement with JetBlue, like they have done with P-town, Hyannis, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Recently, I believe it was Harry Tembenis, pointed out that Cape Air had a rather large problem with their fleet of Cessnas. You read the story here. Now putting this link on the blog about Cape Air, does that make me negative towards Cape Air?? No, I still believe we should be looking into them.

Bottom line is that the more information that all of us put forward about ORH will make ORH be the successful airport that we all know that it can be. In addition if anyone wants to start to own blog or website, let me know I will put links to it anywhere I can.



PS Since January 1st of this year, I personally have flown three round-trips to Florida (Tampa, Fort Lauderedale and Orlando) none of which from ORH (2 from Boston on JetBlue and 1 from Providence on Southwest). That is the real story here.

June 13, 2007

17 Days

Less then 3 weeks to the end of the current operating agreement. If we do in fact long-term lease or sell ORH to MassPort, this is a huge decision based on the mere size and value of ORH. To review an agreement, vote on it and have it effective by July 1st seems almost impossible right now. My bet right now is that we end up extending the current agreement for three months.

June 12, 2007


On a cruiser so I am having a hard time reading the Telegram. Can anyone tell me if there has been anything since Sunday? I will be back Friday.

In the meantime lets keep a closer eye on MaxJet.

June 09, 2007

Logan Airport

Seems like yesterday I was stuck at Fort Lauderdale Airport sitting out a JetBlue delay, today I am sitting here at Logan waiting out JetBlue again. Even with the delay, if you have not flown JetBlue, I highly recommend the experience. Plenty of leg room, great leather seats and your own personal television.

Sitting here, I have had a chance to roam the all the JetBlue gates. Bothers me to see the Cape Air gate with all the Cape Air plans utilized for the code sharing agreement theat flies people direct to Hyannis, P-Town, MArtha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Why not Worcester? What next JetBlue will add Chicopee under their code sharing agreement with JetBlue.

Before I left I had a chance to review the City Council agenda, by the way what a great job our city clerk does. Nothing on the agenda regarding MassPort. Good news, however, IMG is still looking for the right airline for ORH. I feel much better knowing that and the final results of the Master Plan will be released this summer. It has taken 3 years to put together this Master Plan and does anyone else see the ironies in the fact the ORH Master Plan will be released when ORH will most likely be under the control of MassPort??

By the way Logan wacks you 7.99 per day to access the net.

June 08, 2007

22 Days

Do not know what to say, except there are now 22 days left until the end of the current operating agreement..... There is alot to do over the next 22 days if we are in fact going to long-term lease or sell the airport to MassPort on July 1st.

Very interesting story in WoMag yesterday regarding Union Station. Makes you wonder who is checking to make sure the tenants at the Airport and Airport Industrial Park are in compliance with their leases. I know of one property that owes 200,000 in real estate taxes while the current lease requires property taxes to be current?

June 07, 2007

JetBlue Press Release

NEW YORK,NY (rushprnews) May 24, 2007 — JetBlue Airways Corporation (Nasdaq:JBLU) today launches non-stop service to Nantucket, Mass. from its home base of operations at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The low-fare, high-value airline is introducing convenient daily service to the popular Massachusetts island resort for the peak season through September 24(a), with additional weekend flights operating throughout the summer.

JetBlue’s regular fares between New York and Nantucket range from $79(b) to $279(b) each way. To celebrate the launch of the new route, the airline is offering its $79(b) each-way fares with no advance purchase required for travel on nonstop flights between New York and Nantucket completed on or before June 30, 2007.

“Nantucket is a desirable vacation destination for many New Yorkers, and JetBlue now connects these locations with direct and convenient service,” said Rob Maruster, JetBlue Senior Vice President Airports and Operational Planning. “We look forward to welcoming many travelers on this new route, which will allow them to experience our roomy leather seats, complimentary snacks and the most live entertainment options available on any airline during their flight.”

“Nantucket Island, a pioneer of the whaling industry, is very pleased to welcome JetBlue Airways, a pioneer of low-cost, quality air service, to Nantucket,” said E. Foley Vaughan, Nantucket Memorial Airport Commission Chairman. “JetBlue’s presence has improved our overall air service to the island from New York, even before their first flight.”

JetBlue’s service between New York and Nantucket:

June 06, 2007

Council Meeting

Watched about an hour last night. Although I more then understand the importance of Section 18, I did not hear one word on ORH. Only 24 days until the end of the current operating, which not renewed will end up costing the City of Worcester $200,000 per month to keep open.

Maybe I missed something. Did anyone see anything on the airport last night?

June 04, 2007

Another Update

Next Airport Commission is next Monday.

There is a meeting scheduled to discuss the one RFP that was submitted at the end of April for the land parcels at the airport. Who was is the one bidder is still not know, when final decision to accept or not accept the bid or when the Master Plan will be released is not known.

City Council Meeting

Noting on the agenda for the airport negotiations with MassPort. Today is June 4th, we have alot to do between now and July 1st.

June 01, 2007

June 1st

30 days till the end of the current operating agreement. I remember when the the counter started at a little over 300 days. I feel MassPort taking control over ORH via a long-term lease or outright sale may be the best thing that ever happened to ORH, although I do feel that the "net" should have been expanded by offering an RFP for the entire airport to attract companies like National Express. At the same time I disappointed that we are 30 days away from the end of the current agreement, whereby the price tag for ORH jumps to approximately 200,000 per month without a "partner" and we have no idea what this new agreement looks like??

Lets hope that the negotiations are finalized shortly so we can see the actual agreement....