Worcester Airport can learn from Arnold Palmer

FlyORH column.

arnoldpalmerairport-360x360Everyone has heard of Arnold Palmer, but maybe you did not know there is an airport named after him in his hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. Have you heard of it? Bet you don’t think it has many passengers. According to the Pittsburgh Business Times, the Arnold Palmer Regional Aiport will serve approximately 400,000 passengers this year.

Also from the Pittsburg Business Times: “Three years ago, you could go out in our parking lot, and there would be no cars,” said Donald J. Rossi, a local businessman and chairman of the Westmoreland County Airport Authority. “The only cars that might be there would be for the restaurant. Outside of that, there was no need for anybody to come here. We’ve changed an awful lot.”

Sound familiar? They are in a very similar situation being a secondary airport to a large primary airport in Pittsburgh, and had no service. What transformed this airport?

Making the difference

In February 2011, Spirit Airlines added service to Fort Lauderdale. Since then they have added Dallas, Orlando, and Myrtle Beach. In three years, from no passengers to 400,000. This can happen in Worcester with the entry of JetBlue, if we support the daily flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale starting November 7.

What caught my eye recently how Greyhound bus will be providing twice daily shuttle service from Pittsburgh to Arnold Palmer Airport. We are not at that point yet, but imagine a shuttle from Union Station to the airport.

As the first flight on JetBlue out of Worcester approaches, the sky is the limit. 


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