January 25, 2013

FlyORH January 2013

JetBlue made their third trip to Worcester (ORH) over the past 12 months this week.    There are three possible scenarios moving forward:
  1.   April/May announcement:  There will be daily flights starting in November, 2013, to two Florida destinations (most likely Fort Lauderdale and Orlando). 
  2.   July/August announcement: There will be daily flight to these two Florida destinations starting in February, 2014. 
  3.  No announcement:  JetBlue decides not to fly out of ORH
I hope for the first, will take the second and highly doubt the third will happen.  

Some people have asserted that JetBlue will not commit to ORH until the Category III Landing system has been installed.    Although JetBlue, and any other carrier, would like to have Category III Landing systems at all the airports that they service, this is not the reality. JetBlue’s eventual decision to fly here, however, will be greatly influenced by the fact MassPort has committed to the installation of the Category III landing system.  Something the City of Worcester could never have contemplated, when the cost will be in excess of $25 million dollars.    This major improvement on the horizon will help convince JetBlue to fly out ORH in November, 2013 or February, 2014. 

Until Category III is installed, ORH will have some flights cancelled due to fog, similar to the situation JetBlue has with their White Plains operations, where planes are diverted to JFK.    Although I do not see this as a major problem, it will happen and concerns JetBlue.   As long as JetBlue has a smooth procedure to get passengers to Boston, in the event a plane can not land at ORH, but can in Boston, what difference does it make to us?   We already have to drive to Boston-Providence-Manchester or Hartford every single time we fly to Florida.

Based on the track history with Allegiant and Direct Air, I do not see fog being a major problem,  but it will happen more then we want until the Category III is installed.   Call it growing pains, but we need to be prepared and accept it when it happens, knowing that we are truly finally on the right path.

Some people have also asserted that we need an access road.   Although JetBlue, and any other carrier, would like a direct access road, there are many airports that have commercial service and are not easy to access.   Drive to Boston lately, sorry MassPort?  JetBlue’s eventual decision to fly here, however, will be greatly influenced by the improvements to the roads that lead to the airport that have been done and that are planned, as well as improved signage. This commitment also will help convince JetBlue to fly out of ORH in November, 2013 or February, 2014. 

We all need to face the reality, if MassPort was not the owner of ORH, we would not be having any of these discussions.    MassPort’s commitment to upgrade to Category III and JetBlue being their largest carrier are the main reasons  JetBlue may actually fly out of ORH.

JetBlue, however,  will not stay here unless ORH is a success no matter what their relationship is with MassPort.   Once we get JetBlue, it is up to us to fill their planes .   Bottom line sign up for True Blue on the JetBlue website,  get your JetBlue credit card and  buy tickets when the announcement is made.   No more excuses.  

Lastly everyone has their own story or misconception about ORH, especially with Direct Air in the not so distant past.   We finally have the right owner (MassPort) ,  the right airline (JetBlue) and the right destination (Florida).   To put the past completely behind us, MassPort  how about FREE PARKING the first six months JetBlue flies out of ORH to ensure the success of both JetBlue and ORH?


Anonymous said...

"Bottom line sign up for True Blue on the JetBlue website, get your JetBlue credit card and get ready to buy tickets when the announcement is made." -- JetBlue Stockholder

I kid, I kid!

I agree that it's likely true we wouldn't be having these discussions at all if the Massport takeover never went through. Even if we currently have no airlines to show for it, they made the airport at least a respectable place to shoot movies and throw parties. And even though they're moving at the speed of government, at least they're moving.

I also appreciate that even you admit we need more than JetBlue to make ORH work. I'll admit I'm more pessimistic and that it would take a miracle, but we've seen miracles happen in this city before. I think the only way we can safely say ORH is a success is if we can get a secon airline to come here. That's something we haven't had in a long time.

David Z. said...

I think it will be scenario # 2. And IMHO, there is at least one other airline waiting to see what JetBlue does that will be announcing ORH service soon after.

Nick said...

I agree David, if JetBlue posts modest to great results the flood gates could likely open for a second and third airline as well as JetBlue expansion. I'd have my eye on Delta to come after some JetBlue sucess with 717 flights to Atlanta and maybe Detroit.

To start w/ JetBlue
1x daily to Orlando (E190)
1x daily to Ft. Lauderdale (E190)

After sucess w/ JetBlue
2x daily to Orlando (1 E190, 1 A320)
1x daily to Ft. Lauderdale (E190)
3x daily to JFK (E190)

I'd expect that terminal atop the hill to be hoppin by 2015!

Bill LeBeau said...

As for the access road, well, that is not an issue for now. Heck, in its heyday in the 80's and early 90's, the airport was servicing over 300,000 passengers a year...with no access road. Also, to those neighbors who complaign about the airport getting too busy, please stop. You built or bought your houses knowing full well there was an airport nearby. Many of you bought when it was actually busy. So don't act all surprised when, shocker, there are actual airplanes flying around!

Jahn said...

Bill L. ,If ORH starts doing many flights per day, look for the neighbors to start complaining and then look for CC'or obstructionists to start throwing their weight around. We all know the usual suspects.

Can we really compare the 80's & 90's air travel from Worc with today. Shouldnt we keep in mind that Manchester, TF Greene, and maybe even Bradley are much larger operations and much more successful todaY than they were back in the 80's & 90's and that today they siphon much more of the Worc catchment area than they did back in the old days?

If we can land jet blue for the vacation market and then land more Business travel type flights from whatever carrier, then I think Worc airport we be on the map again.

I see an access road in time. God only knows when, but MAssport enabling legislation has eminent domain powers that definitely can be used to expand airport capacity. I do not know that those eminent domain powers extent to road building. Anyone else possibly know? It might be a good question for the next meet up with Massport honchos???

Anonymous said...

A % of the revenue from parking was a source of income for the airlines. So of there is no parking fee, what's the benefit for jetblue?


Bill Randell said...


I am not sure that the airlines gets a percentage of the parking revenues. Trust me JetBlue wants to sell tickets more then they want a percent of any parking revenues.

Free Parking will attract people to ORH to buy tickets.


Anonymous said...

Goo thread, Bill....

Harry T

Bill Randell said...

Guys & Girls

We do not need any more polls or studies. We have ten of each on file somewhere.

We need to just be ready to buy tickets. We buy tickets, support ORH and make JetBlue profitable everything else falls into place.

Sign up for TruuBlue, get your JetBlue credit card and get ready to buy tickets.


MSWOMer said...

Frankly, I love the painted blue line idea that Lt. Gov. Murray suggested. It's cheap and beats the crap out of improved signage. You're not going to get lost following a solid line on the road.

I also agree that we need more than JetBlue to make ORH successful. The question is what airline would complement JetBlue instead of competing for the same customer base?

Anonymous said...

If you look at Direct Airs past, you'll notice that late fall was a slow time for Florida travel. There are spikes around the holidays but certainly not huge passenger loads. Late winter and spring are peak times for travel to Florida. I still hold some reservation regarding JetBlues desire to start service in Worcester. It seems the Massport powers to be are twisting arms for this to happen. Worcester is an empty airport. There is no timing to work out or gate issues, its a start up operation. JetBlue clearly noted there is no guarantee of service. It remains to be seen.


Nick said...

MSWOMer, United would be a perfect complement with possible flights to Newark and Chicago O'Hare. Delta would sort of be competition for JetBlue b/c of connections to Florida provided through Atlanta. I could see Delta coming in though with flights to Atlanta and Detroit.

Anonymous said...

I disagree with Tony saying there wasn't huge passenger loads on Direct Air throughout the year. I used Direct Air in Spring, Summer and Fall from Orlando....all flights were PACKED. So much business in Central Mass, no one wants to mess with big city traffic like Boston, Hartford, etc. Worcester is so convenient for us visiting the smaller towns. I am so hopeful another airline services Florida and Worcester soon!