BOSTON (CBS) – With The Veteran’s Day weekend over, and Thanksgiving travel coming up, new JetBlue flights from The Worcester Airport are off to a promising start.
The airline has two daily flights to the Florida destinations of Fort Lauderdale and Orlando on 100 seat Embracer jets.
In the past decade, JetBlue has grown to 256 flights a day in and out of six New England airports. Over 200 of these daily operations are at Boston’s Logan Airport. The others are at Burlington VT, Hartford CT, Portland ME and Providence RI. And now the central Massachusetts city of Worcester.
JetBlue indicated that they continue to evaluate new airports all the time, but would not say if the Manchester Airport was in their future plans. Southwest Airlines has the majority of flights at the Manchester Airport.
Worcester has been without scheduled service since Direct Air declared bankruptcy and shutdown almost two years ago.
Massport has given JetBlue incentives to add new the new service that will total over $1 million in the first year. At least 20 new JetBlue and TSA jobs are being created with the new flights.
On a Thursday afternoon before the Veteran’s Day holiday weekend, three generations of the Martin family were not typical of what JetBlue hopes to attract in Worcester. The party of five was on their way to Ft. Lauderdale for a long weekend that would find the grandchildren only missing one day of school.
The Martins were from Beverly on Boston’s North Shore but drove an extra hour to Worcester for a $69 one-way fare to Florida. Low fares will attract passengers every time.
A check of passengers flying out on Thursday found them all to be leisure travelers, dressed for warmer weather.
Reservations for outbound flights are strong, but the real test will come in the summer months.
The other test for this new service is getting to the Worcester Airport. There are about 10 traffic lights on a downtown two lane road leading to the terminal from Rte. 290.
Boston was not much better, if you were going to Logan last Thursday afternoon. It took
Thirty-nine minutes to get from the Rte. 128 tolls to the Prudential Center exit downtown. This situation is only expected to get worse when the Callahan Tunnel closes for three months on December 27.
JetBlue is the number one carrier at Logan Airport handling over 25 percent of the 30 million passengers who will fly in and out of Logan this year. The airline will celebrate its 10th Anniversary in Boston in early January.
All Things Travel Reports with Bob Weiss can be heard this weekend on WBZ News Radio.