Worcester Regional Airport
|Worcester Regional Airport|
|IATA: ORH – ICAO: KORH – FAA LID: ORH|
|Owner||Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)|
|Operator||Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport)|
|Elevation AMSL||1,009 ft / 308 m|
|Source: Federal Aviation Administration|
Worcester Regional Airport (IATA: ORH, ICAO: KORH, FAA LID: ORH) is a public airport located three miles (5 km) west of the central business district of Worcester, a city in Worcester County, Massachusetts, United States. The main airport property lies within Worcester and Leicester, with substantial supporting facilities in Paxton. Once owned by the City of Worcester, the airport is currently owned and operated by the Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) since June 2010.
Worcester's entry into the world of aviation began in 1925, when city officials commissioned a study to examine suitable sites for the city's first airport. On the list of probable sites was the land owned by a wealthy local citizen, Whitin Whitall. In 1927, Whitall, independently of the city commission, set up an airport on his land in North Grafton, 500 feet (150 m) above sea level. This two-runway airport opened for leisure travel on 12 October 1927.
As air travel became more popular throughout the country and Central Massachusetts, the question of airport expansion became the subject of a second study commissioned by the Worcester city government. The Grafton airport was deemed too small to accommodate the air travel needs of the region. The location of the present airport, Tatnuck Hill, an area that straddles the borders of Worcester, Leicester, and Paxton, was high on the commission's list. One problem noted by the commission and several prominent citizens was the weather: at 1,000-foot (300 m) above sea level, the Tatnuck site was often surrounded by fog. Despite this problem, the city eventually chose Tatnuck as the new site, and construction began in 1944. The airport was ceremoniously opened on 4 May 1946, and started regular passenger service one week later on 10 May 1946. The Grafton airport remained in operation until 1951, when the owners, due to the dwindling traffic, decided to dismantle the airport. The land was redeveloped as a residential neighbourhood. Leicester Airport, a small private airfield also built during the first half-century of aviation, was active until the 1970s. It still sits, now mostly overgrown in the shadow of Worcester Regional.
Millions of dollars were spent replacing the old terminal, which hosted a half-dozen airlines before its demolition. In the mid 1980s and early 1990s, major carriers, such as Piedmont, Northwest Airlines, Continental, and USAir all flew mainline jets into Worcester. In addition, smaller carriers, like New York Air and Presidential Airways also had jet service. The small terminal had two ground level jetways built to accommodate the growth. But one by one, those carriers left. A succession of second-tier air carriers have come and gone over the last decade.
Allegiant Air began service to Orlando Sanford International Airport (SFB) on 22 December 2005, using McDonnell-Douglas MD-80 type aircraft. The airline expanded to 4 flights per week in March 2006. Allegiant announced on 22 August 2006, that they would cut ties with the airport, citing high fuel costs and passenger loads in the 80% range as the reason for departure. The departure came as a huge surprise to the city as service was reported to be going great throughout Allegiant's entire tenure at the airport.
On 4 September 2008, Direct Air announced they would begin service to Worcester beginning in November 2008, with flights from Orlando, FL and Fort Myers/Punta Gorda, FL. The flights were usually operated by Virgin America using Airbus A320 aircraft, until Direct Air returned the aircraft in June 2009 to suffice Virgin's rapidly expanding domestic routes. Following this Direct Air began carrying out flights on their less cost-effective company owned Boeing 737-400s Flights used to be operated by a Falcon Air Express MD-83. In March 2009, Direct Air added additional flights to Myrtle Beach, SC. In July 2010, Direct Air expanded their Worcester service further to West Palm Beach. In March 2012, Direct Air suspended operations from Worcester, and filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on 12 April 2012.
On 3 April 2013, it was announced that JetBlue will offer daily flights to Orlando, Florida and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, starting 7 Nov 2013. This came after over a year of negotiating with the airline including competitions among local residents to help advertise the city. This is the first mainline service out of Worcester in over a decade. On November 7th the first JetBlue aircraft departed Worcester and the daily flights began. The airline currently uses the 100 seat Embraer 190 aircraft out of the airport, but is planning to eventually fly the larger 150 seat Airbus A320 on Worcester routes once service has been established and the number of passengers is greater. With the airports current terminal facility JetBlue can operate two aircraft at a time with the pair of jetways and ticket counters. In the future there are hopes to expand the terminal to accommodate more flights at once.
The airport had been under an operating agreement with Massport, the Massachusetts Port Authority for several years. Under the agreement, the city and Massport paid the operating deficit together.
- 1 July 2004 – 30 June 2005 – MassPort pays 100% of operating deficit not including debt service
- 1 July 2005 – 30 June 2006 – MassPort pays 85% of operating deficit not including debt service
- 1 July 2006 – 30 June 2007 – MassPort pays 68% of operating deficit not including debt service
By law, Worcester had to transfer ownership of the airport to Massport sometime in 2009 or 2010. As of 1 July 2010, Massport is the owner and operator of the airport.
For 12-month period ending 31 May 2009, the airport had 55,216 aircraft operations, an average of 151 per day: 94% general aviation, 4% air taxi, <1% scheduled commercial and <1% military. There are 65 aircraft based at this airport: 89% single engine, 9% multi-engine and 2% jet aircraft.
Facilities and infrastructure
Worcester Regional Airport covers an area of 1,000 acres (4 km²) which contains two runways: 11/29 measuring 7,000 x 150 ft (2,134 x 46 m) and 15/33 measuring 5,000 x 100 ft (1,524 x 30 m). Runways 11 and 29 are instrumented with ILS equipment. EMAS pads are located at the starting thresholds of runways 11 and 29.
The airport passenger terminal has four jetway gates (two of which are operational) and two ramp level gates for regional carriers. The terminal also houses two baggage carousels and a TSA installed passenger and baggage screening system.
Airlines and destinations
|JetBlue Airways||Fort Lauderdale, Orlando |
- Northeast Airlines, 1946-1971
- Mohawk Airlines, 1965-1971 (merged with Allegheny Airlines)
- Statewide Airlines, 1965-1966
- Executive Airlines, 1969-1972
- Allegheny Airlines, 1971-1975
- Pilgrim Airlines, 1974-1975
- Precision Airlines, 1978-1981
- Bar Harbor Airlines, 1980-1998
- Piedmont Airlines, 1986-1989 (merged with US Airways)
- Continental Airlines, 1987-1988
- Northwest Airlines, 1988-1990
- US Airways Express, 1988-2003
- Continental Express, 1990-1998
- Carnival Air Lines, 1993-1994
- Florida Shuttle, 1993-1994
- United Express, 1998 (April-November)
- American Eagle Airlines, 2000-2002
- Delta Connection, 2000-2002
- Pan American Airways, 2001-2002
- Allegiant Air, 2005-2006
- Direct Air, 2008-2012
The Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA)'s route #2 bus connects Union Station, a regional MBTA Commuter Rail, Amtrak, and bus transportation hub in the Downtown Worcester district, with the airport. Union Station is the western terminus of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's Framingham/Worcester Line, with eastbound service to Back Bay and South Station in Boston. Additionally, service via Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited Boston section to/from Albany, New York, with connections to Chicago (formerly also the Regional's Inland Route) stops at this location, as does intercity (Peter Pan Bus Lines), (Greyhound Bus Lines), and other local WRTA bus services at Union Station.
The airport presently lacks a direct connection to an Interstate Highway. However, a number of Interstate routes such as: I-290, I-90, I-190, I-395, I-495, and routes: MA-9, MA-122, and MA-146 provide access through smaller access roads.
- FAA Airport Master Record for ORH ( PDF). Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Massport (22 June 2010). "Massport, Worcester Airport Deal Completed". Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MASSDOT). Retrieved 26 June 2010
- Southwick, Albert B. (1994). Once-Told Tales of Worcester County. Worcester: Databooks.
- Freeman, Paul (13 March 2010). "Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Grafton, MA". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Western Massachusetts. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Freeman, Paul (13 March 2010). "Abandoned Airfields: Leicester, MA". Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Western Massachusetts. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Allegiant Air will leave Worcester". Worcester Telegram and Gazette. 23 August 2006. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Comprehensive Annual Financial Report" (PDF). Massport. 30 June 2005. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Chapter 25 of the Acts of 2009, Section 148". Massachusetts General Court. 25 June 2009. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Chase, Katie Johnston (1 June 2010). "Ailing airport seeking its niche". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- "Briefing: Worcester Regional Airport Economic Impact". Worcester Business Journal Online. 9 January 2012. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "KORH: Worcester Regional Airport". FAA Information. Airnav.com. 23 September 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- FAA Airport Diagram.
- "Worcester Regional Airport". City of Worcester Economic, Neighborhood & Workplace Development. 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- http://www.telegram.com/assets/pdf/WT17668313.PDF Worcester regional Airport carrier history 1946-2012
- "To and From Worcester Regional Airport". MassPort. 2010. Retrieved 16 October 2010.
- Worcester Regional Airport (Official website)
- Worcester Regional Airport on Facebook
- Worcester Regional Flight Academy
- (PDF), effective December 12, 2013
- Resources for this airport: