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JetBlue launches service at Worcester

JetBlue’s inaugural flight from Worcester Regional Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took off on Thursday afternoon. It was sold out.

Paul Kapteyn/Telegram & Gazette

JetBlue’s inaugural flight from Worcester Regional Airport to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., took off on Thursday afternoon. It was sold out.

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A Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-bound JetBlue Airways flight took off from Worcester Regional Airport Thursday afternoon, ending a year-and-a-half drought in which the beleaguered airport had no scheduled airline service.

JetBlue is offering two daily flights from Worcester, to Fort Lauderdale and to Orlando; Orlando service launched Friday. The airport is run by the Massachusetts Port Authority, which also operates Logan International Airport and has committed about $32 million to construct a parallel taxiway and install a new instrument landing system that will allow planes to land in the lowest levels of visibility.

The Worcester airport has lost passenger service several times over the years, most recently in March 2012 when Direct Air abruptly cancelled all its flights, stranded passengers around the country, and filed for bankruptcy. The chief executive of JetBlue, the biggest carrier at Logan, has said that the airline intends to add more flights and destinations in Worcester.

Katie Johnston can be reached at kjohnston@globe.com
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