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Worcester Airport presents a path for future progress

I was disappointed to read Megan Woolhouse’s article “Still waiting for business to take off.” Worcester Regional Airport, known by its call letters as ORH, is a critical element of Central Massachusetts’ transportation tripod of road, rail, and air.

While commercial activity (i.e., scheduled flights on air carriers) has struggled during economic downturns, Worcester has regularly supported private, charter, and military travel. The number of annual local and itinerant takeoffs and landings has increased in the last few years. The lobby Woolhouse visited may have been quiet, but the control tower and tarmac undoubtedly hummed with activity.

With the initiation of JetBlue service, commercial activity has once again taken off and is helping to rebuild the airport’s reputation in New England as a convenient and reliable air travel alternative.

Worcester’s ultimate challenge is not its location or climate, but its technology. Logan was built on a series of islands in Boston Harbor, requiring substantial landfill. Manchester and Green airports, in New Hampshire and Providence, respectively, each required construction of new highway links to attract regular commercial service. The navigational system under construction at Worcester — a system currently in place at all major airports including Logan, Green, Manchester, and Bradley in Windsor Locks, Conn. — will provide the predictability and safety of service required of a successful commercial airport.


New England is too small to host more than one Logan International Airport. Yet Logan, hemmed in by urban centers and ocean waters, is too small to accommodate all of the region’s air travel. Investing in Worcester ensures that Massachusetts remains ready to capitalize on existing infrastructure to accommodate current and future demand.

Timothy J. McGourthy

Executive director
Worcester Regional
Research Bureau