WORCESTER (CBS/AP) – Worcester Regional Airport finally has a new tenant.
JetBlue officially announced they’re coming to Worcester in a news conference at the vacant airport Wednesday.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports
JetBlue will offer two daily flights from Worcester, one to Orlando and one to Ft. Lauderdale, starting Nov. 7 on a 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft.
Massport is giving JetBlue a $275,000 break on airport fees and charges for two years, and $150,000 worth of free marketing.
Gov. Deval Patrick said at the news conference that airports and airlines grow jobs and spur economic opportunity. “I am proud to welcome JetBlue to Worcester, and thank the lieutenant governor, our partners in Worcester and at Massport for helping to make this happen,” Patrick said.
JetBlue CEO Dave Barger praised “the enthusiasm of the Worcester community.”
The state has invested nearly $9 million in the airport since Massport took it over from the city in 2010. The state agency announced last month that it will add a parallel taxiway and install a new instrument landing system at the airport.
There had been speculation for nearly a year that the popular low-cost airline had an interest in central Massachusetts.
Worcester gives travelers a less-crowded alternative to Boston’s Logan International Airport.
At its peak in 1989, the Worcester airport served more than 340,000 people and had four commercial carriers. But between 2009 and 2012, 250,000 people traveled through the airport, according to Massport.
A Massachusetts Department of Transportation economic impact study found that the Worcester airport contributes $51.5 million to the regional economy.
Worcester Airport. (Photo by Karen Twomey)
Direct Air left the airport last spring and since then, no major carrier has been servicing Worcester.
According to JetBlue’s website, initial flights from Worcester will go to Austin, Texas, Ft. Lauderdale and Orlando, Florida, and San Juan, Puerto Rico.