WORCESTER, Mass. - Central Massachusetts travelers may soon be able to fly to Florida or the Caribbean without having to travel all the way into Boston, following a successful visit by JetBlue CEO David Barger to Worcester on Wednesday.
“Worcester feels very JetBlue,” Barger said following a visit with state and city officials regarding the airline flying out of Worcester Regional Airport.
Barger said the deal is very near completion and is only a matter of the company figuring out its fleet schedules. He noted all of their planes are booked through 2012, but said the company is still deciding on its plans for 2013.
If service were to come to Worcester, Barger said JetBlue would look to fly to Florida initially and possibly some of the Caribbean destinations.
“Many snowbirds in New England like to head to Florida and a lot of people fly to Ft. Myers to see the Red Sox preseason,” Barger said.
Worcester Regional Airport was last served by Direct Air, which grounded all flights in March.
Barger said he was pleased to see so much investment across the city of Worcester and in the region, including street and landscaping, new construction and other investments.
“Every aspect of the community is really on the same page,” Barger said, noting his meetings with community leaders and businesspeople on Wednesday.
MassPort, the owner of Worcester Regional Airport, officials also announced on Wednesday they they would upgrade to the navigation system in September to make the airport more viable for carriers like JetBlue. This upgrade is on top of another $9 million slated for improvements to the airport in the next year.
Lt. Gov. Tim Murray also met with Barger as part of the state’s effort to bring JetBlue to Worcester.
“You bring in JetBlue and it’s going to take it to a whole other level,” said Murray, highlighting the importance of airport activity to the state’s economy.
Worcester Mayor Joseph O’Brien said he believes the deal is only a matter of time.
“I hope next time we’re signing full service by jetBlue,” O’Brien said. “It is a great fit for the community, the region and the airport.”
Barger also hinted that he and other company officials would be coming back to Worcester soon.
“We hope to be back in the very near future,” Barger said. He noted the company wouldn’t make an official announcement until four to six months prior to bringing service to the airport.