Stewart Is A Great Example For Worcester
For years we have been comparing Worcester to secondary airports within an hour of major airports; for example:
* Rockford: Chicago
* Arnold Palmer Airport: Pittsburgh
* White Plains & Stewart: New York
* MidAmerica: St Louis
We took special interest in Stewart, since we had urged the City of Worcester to get out of the airport for many years and to long-term lease (Privatize) the airport. This is exactly what the City of Newburgh, when they leased the airport for 99 years to National Express Group in 1999. Ironically in 2007, National Express sold the airport back to the Port Authority of New York for a tidy profit.
Although we skipped the leasing to a private entity, Worcester also was sold to their state port authority, Massport, in 2010. Check out how Port Authority of New York is rebranding in this Stewart USA Today column from this past February.
The new name is Stewart International Airport, meanwhile do you remember when we wanted to change our name to Worcester-MetroWest-Boston Airport? That is almost as bad as Manchester calling themselves Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.
The marketing plan for Stewart is to make then New York Area's Budget Flight Hub, read this New York Times column from this past Wednesday. Two years ago Stewart was at 275,000 passengers annually and this year they expect to double this number.
A key addition for Stewart has been discount carrier Norwegian Air with flights to Europe, which has completely changed the their perception. Why not Worcester to Europe?
Think that is crazy, right? Check out the other airlines at Stewart:
1) JetBlue to Fort Lauderdale and Orlando.
2) American to Philadelphia
3) Allegiant to Myrtle Beach, Sanford, St Pete's and Fort Myers
4) Delta to Detroit
We have the same JetBlue flights, the same Philadelphia flight with American, are rumored to have Delta to Detroit by January, but will not get the Allegiant flights here since we will the JetBlue NYC flights that can get us to these same Allegiant destinations except Myrtle Beach. In total we are very similar to Stewart as cities, ownership of our airport and destinations/airlines of our airports.
Do we think that we could get Norwegian to come to ORH? We did until, Providence got them last year, but that does not mean we do not think that we can get service to Europe with other lines. How about JetBlue?
Between JetBlue expanding their Mint product and the purchase of the Airbus A321 Neo, there is no doubt Europe is in their plans, why not brand ORH as Massachusetts Budget Flight Hub. Interesting column . Do not forget about WOW Air either.
This brings us back to the fact Massport has no marketing plan for ORH. None!! Last week we heard the Airport Director say that little money is spent in Worcester, since everyone knows about the services out of ORH? Nothing could be farther from the truth. The Twitter campaign with the hashtag #WhyIFlyORH is painful. Then last week we read this tweet about using the WRTA to get to ORH?
Alot of good things are happening at ORH and JetBlue with their NYC flight coupled with CAT III is going to transform Worcester Regional Airport. Lets start a marketing plan, however, that will also transform us into Worcester International Airport.