Massachusetts Port Authority officials can finally add a nonstop flight to South America to Logan Airport’s lineup — and they’re again reaching into their treasure chest of incentives to pull it off.
Governor Charlie Baker plans on Thursday to unveil the pending arrival of Avianca, a Colombian carrier that will whisk travelers from Boston to Bogota four times a week, starting June 2. Massport officials say they’ll give Avianca $400,400 over two years, to help pay for landing fees and marketing costs.
The Bogota route will also enable connections to other South American cities. Massport’s chief executive, Thomas Glynn, said that he expects Raytheon and Dunkin’ Brands to be among the Greater Boston businesses that take advantage of the flights.
“There are a few Mass. companies that do a lot of business down there,” Glynn said.
Avianca is the latest in a line of overseas carriers to reap the benefits of Massport’s international incentive program to connect Logan to new markets. The program was created more than nine years ago. The Great Recession initially put a damper on airline expansions, but as the economy took off, so did the program. Japan Airlines was the first beneficiary, in 2012.
Massport has awarded more than $11 million through the program over the years, to 11 airlines, including Avianca. Most airport operators offer such incentives, sometimes offering much more per route than Massport does. For example, Aer Lingus got a $9 million revenue guarantee to fly into Bradley International Airport in Connecticut.
The incentives provide some breathing room as airlines build their local business.
Boston, long a hub for higher education and health care, has become more of an international destination. And business leaders have aggressively pushed for more overseas routes.
Logan had 52 direct international routes before Avianca, double the number from 2006.
Massport renovated Terminal E to accommodate the growth. Long-term, the authority wants to install seven new gates.
Baker will head to Terminal E on Thursday to celebrate the Avianca deal and highlight the recent renovations.
“Better connecting all Massachusetts has to offer to the global economy allows the Commonwealth to maintain its competitive edge and continue to reap the benefits of a culturally and professionally diverse population,” Baker said in a statement.Jon Chesto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.