The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) today announced a $486,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration to reimburse Worcester Regional Airport for the removal of trees and other vegetation along the airport's runway ends.
"I'm glad Worcester Regional Airport is receiving this FAA grant to support Massport's efforts. This is great news for Worcester and all of Central Massachusetts," said Senator Elizabeth Warren. "With commercial flights resuming in just a few months, the Worcester airport will play an increasingly important role promoting economic growth throughout the region. Investments in infrastructure such as these transportation grants show how the federal government can be a strong partner for the Commonwealth."
In 2011, Massport developed a comprehensive five-year vegetation management plan that identifies vegetation that could pose a hazard to aircraft. The plan was approved by the Worcester and Leicester Conservation Commissions with vegetation removal taking place this past winter. Total costs for this phase was approximately $900,000 with Massport's share being $414,000. Last year the FAA contributed an initial $400,000 with Massport contributing $334,000.
"Serving the second fastest growing county in the Commonwealth, Worcester Regional Airport is critical to the expansion of transportation infrastructure in central Massachusetts," said Senator William "Mo" Cowan. "As the area continues to grow, the FAA's grant provides essential funding for Massport's development of a safe, convenient and efficient alternative to Logan airport. This smart investment of federal dollars will spur economic growth in the region and maintain safe and secure travels for our citizens."
In 2010 Massport acquired the airport from the city of Worcester and has since invested $10 million to strengthen its basic infrastructure with another $40 million contemplated to meet FAA guidelines and to improve its landing system.
"This federal funding for capital improvements at Worcester Regional Airport is welcome news," Rep. Jim McGovern said. "With the upcoming resumption of commercial service at the airport in November, it is vital that we continue to improve the infrastructure at the facility. I look forward to continuing to work with Massport, local officials and my federal colleagues to make Worcester Regional Airport a success."
Massport is moving forward with a parallel taxiway and installing a Category III instrument landing system at the airport. Both are needed for the long-term growth of the facility and to make a safe facility even safer.
"We are very grateful to our Congressional Delegation for their longstanding support of Worcester Airport whether that's protecting our control tower from budget cuts; championing new passenger service or securing much needed federal funds to maintain the safety and integrity of the airspace," said Massport Executive Director Thomas P. Glynn. "Worcester Airport is essential to the economic growth of central Massachusetts and to provide an alternative to Logan for passengers from the I-495 ring and further west."
Starting in November JetBlue Airways will begin offering one flight daily between Worcester Airport and Orlando and another daily flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on 100-seat Embraer 190 aircraft. Massport's Air Service Incentive Program for Worcester Airport allows the airline to participate in cooperative marketing efforts with the Authority and receive rebates on airport fees and charges for two years. Massport offers the Air Service Incentive Program to allow Worcester to compete with other airports vying for passenger service. Massport offers a similar program at Boston Logan International Airport to attract new international service.
Rectrix Aviation Services will soon start construction on its new fixed-base operator facility. A fixed-base operator is the primary provider of support services to general aviation aircraft and offers services such as aircraft parking and fueling, maintenance and hangar facilities at an airport. Rectrix's Worcester facility will include a regional aircraft maintenance facility that is expected to establish the airport as a destination for aircraft maintenance. Rectrix will invest approximately $6.7 Million to develop 27,000 square feet of hangar and office space at Worcester Airport.
At its peak in 1989, Worcester airport served more than 340,000 people and between 2009 and 2012, 250,000 people chose Worcester Airport. Worcester Regional Airport serves Worcester County, the second fastest growing county in Massachusetts, along with the Boston Metro West region and the bustling Interstate 495 corridor. A Massachusetts Department of Transportation economic impact study found that Worcester Regional Airport contributes $51.5 million to the regional economy.
You can find Worcester Regional Airport on Twitter at www.twitter.com/flyworcesterand on Facebook at www.facebook.com/WorcesterRegionalAirport.
The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities. For more information please visit massport.com.