BOSTON (CBS) — Monday afternoon, if everything goes according to schedule, Gov. Deval Patrick will be out at Logan Airport to welcome the first Emirates Airline flight from Dubai to Boston and the start of the first daily service to the Middle East.
Patrick is the tourism governor.
Today’s ceremony continues a winning streak for Massport and Logan Airport. It began two years ago when Japan Air Lines began flights to Tokyo, continued last year with Copa Airlines flying to Panama City and will continue with new service on Turkish Airlines and Hainan Airlines to China.
Last year, Logan set a record with 30.2 million passengers using the airport. International flyers accounted for 4.5 million of the total Boston figure. This year Logan will serve 39 non-stop foreign destinations.
The introduction of the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet has made service to airports like Logan more affordable for the airlines. Massport also offers incentives for new service from Boston.
On various trade missions, Patrick took time to meet with airlines in their home countries and that work was coordinated with Massport. Patrick is a former director of United Airlines.
When Copa and Hainan announced their new service from Boston, it was no coincidence that the setting was the Massachusetts State House, and not at the airport.
All of this activity has had an important impact on the airport itself. Massport recently announced that it will spend $100 million to expand Terminal E to accommodate its overseas flights. This construction project should be completed in 2017.
The biggest impact made by Patrick is through better coordination of tourism promotion by Massport, The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism, The Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau and The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.
MOTT Director Betsy Wall and her group have taken the leadership role in this new effort at international trade shows and visits by members of the foreign media.
The working code-sharing agreements between international and domestic airlines should also not be overlooked. On the same day that Emirates began its Boston flights, Boston’s number one carrier JetBlue, started three daily trips to Detroit, which is a strong business and ethnic market.
“Our position in Boston gives carriers more confidence in coming to Logan with our connecting flights,” said JetBlue CEO Dave Barger in a recent interview.
But the man drawing up the game plan is Patrick, and it worked.
Bob Weiss reports on business travel on Mondays at 5:55 a.m. on WBZ NewsRadio 1030.
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