We are now three months into our JetBlue experience, and I have not heard one complaint about not having an access road to Worcester Regional Airport.
Seriously—not one! Who doesn’t have some type of car navigation system in their car today?
Think about how much time has been wasted on the access road discussion. Remember the whole Hope Ave access road discussion/fiasco? In case you forgot, check out this YouTube video. Imagine if we had taken that time and energy and discussed what was really needed at ORH: the CAT III Landing System.
The good news is that we are no longer talking about an access road and Massport has made CAT III priority #1, which will enable flights to land and take off with virtually no visibility. Although this will take time to be completed (with the latest estimates being 2018), ORH is focused and on the right track…finally. Massport has even been able to lower the FAA minimums at ORH, which will greatly reduce the number of cancellations that we saw the first two months.
More important issues
We do, however, need to do a better job telling people how to access ORH. Lincoln Square, Kelly Square, and Cambridge Street are not the best routes to the airport, but Exit 9 off Route 290 in Auburn is. Last summer, my daughter and I filmed a video that we have uploaded to YouTube. In less then 15 minutes you can get from Route 290, park your car, and being inside ORH checking in with no lines. No tunnels, no traffic, and no tolls.
Name me any airport where you are 15 minutes from a major highway to the ticket counter checking in. Is that not great access already? It takes at least that long from the time you enter Logan or Providence airport until you are checked in.
Imagine if we spent $50 million that we don’t have on an access road; how much time you would save starting with a baseline of 15 minutes? It’d be a complete waste of time, money, and effort with little return on investment. The CAT III landing system, more amenities at ORH, and additional airlines with more destinations are the priority and will yield huge returns for Worcester Airport.
Let’s work with what we have and establish Exit 9 off Route 290 as the access road to ORH, with appropriate signage. Lastly, check out the Chamber of Commerce and Destination Travel Show on March 13; it’s really starting to take shape.