By Eliza Rosenberry
Glynn gave his report on the current state of Massport — which oversees Hanscom, Worcester, and Logan airports as well as seaports and some urban real estate — to representatives from Bedford, Concord, Lexington, and Lincoln at a meeting of the Hanscom Area Towns Committee (HATS) on April 27.
Instead, Glynn said, Massport is focused on expanding commercial service out of Worcester Regional Airport.
Since November of 2013, JetBlue has operated daily flights between Worcester and Fort Lauderdale and Orlando, and the airline recently announced plans to add flights to New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport next year.
Massport director of aviation Ed Freni said Massport is able to leverage Logan Airport in its negotiations with airlines in order to encourage more commercial service at Worcester. He said Massport is currently in discussions with two other major airlines about bringing flights to Worcester.
“There’s so much ask at Logan that we really have to leverage what we can do at Logan with what we need to do at Worcester,” said Freni. “We’re really kind of putting Worcester in the package here, as we did with JetBlue.”
Worcester Regional Airport will soon celebrate its 400,000th passenger since November 2013.
“That is a success story,” Glynn said. “But it’s a success story that does not come cheaply… We’re subsidizing the airport until they have enough flights to break even.”
In response to a question from Lincoln Selectman Jonathan Dwyer about the possibility of expanded service at Hanscom, Glynn said that would be unlikely due in part to Massport’s significant ongoing investment in Worcester. He said Massport is happy with the existing status quo at Hanscom.
“Everybody on our side, and I think some of the folks on your side, recognize we’re at a good place in the relationship between Massport, Hanscom, and the communities,” said Glynn. “I know that there were some things tried 20-25 years ago, and I think that the communities did a good job of educating the policymakers of why those kinds of approaches didn’t make a whole lot of sense.”
“When we go out and talk to the airlines,” Freni added, “we’re not even considering Hanscom [for] commercial service.”
Hanscom airport director Sharon Williams said the number of flights at Hanscom last year decreased by five percent from the previous year and noise has decreased annually since 2011. She added that Massport is planning to build a fire station and rehabilitate older facilities at Hanscom, including a runway, beginning this summer.
Representing Bedford at the HATS meeting were Selectman Mike Rosenberg and community member at-large Maggie Debbie.