Delta to fly Worcester nonstop to Detroit next summer

BY Zachary Comeau

Worcester Regional Airport Director Andy Davis

Delta Airlines, flying to Detroit, will be the third year-round commercial airline to fly out of Worcester beginning next August, officials announced Aug. 28 at Worcester Regional Airport.

Details of the new service were scant, as contracts were just signed with Delta, said Airport Director Andy Davis. Details of flight times and frequency will be shared in the near future.

“We wanted to make sure we shared the news as soon as possible,” Davis said.

The new service is the first from the airport to leave the East Coast. JetBlue offers flights to New York City, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In April, state and local officials announced American Airlines daily flights from Worcester to Philadelphia, which will begin in October. Rectrix Aviation offers seasonal flights to Cape Cod.

Detroit is Delta's second largest hub – after Atlanta – and includes nonstop destinations to airports throughout the U.S., Europe, China, Japan and South America.

The Worcester airport has seen $100 million in state and federal investment since 2010, leading to its revitalization now connecting Worcester to a larger part of the country.

The most recent investment is the U.S. Department of Transportation granting $463,000 on Aug. 29 to install electrical equipment for aircrafts at two gates.

Planes at Gates 1 and 2 will be provided with power and air conditioning while parked at the terminal.

The U.S. DOT called the improvements a Voluntary Airport Low Emissions Program project to generate Airport Emission Reduction Credits, which can be used to comply with future air emission regulations.

“This grant will help Worcester Regional Airport better serve the flying public, as well as strengthening the economy and creating jobs in this community,” DOT Secretary Elaine Chao said in a press release.

Prior to that, the airport received a $3.2-million federal grant to pay for improvements to the shorter of its two runways. The funding, announced July 31 by the U.S. DOT, will allow for a rehabilitation to Runway 15-33, a 5,000-foot-long runway closest to the terminal secondary to the longer Runway 11-29.

Worcester Regional Airport received a small share of more than $3 billion in airport improvement funding issued by the Federal Aviation Administration this year, which include runways, taxiways and terminal repairs.

The FAA granted $1 million to the airport in June to help expand the airport's services. That grant will be used to rehabilitate about an acre and a half of apron pavement near the terminal.

The upcoming repairs in Worcester will follow a much larger project at the airport, a $32-million investment from the airport's owner, the Massachusetts Port Authority. That project included adding new lighting to both runways, a so-called jughandle that allows planes to turn around, and a new antenna allowing planes to land in lower visibility.

The airport has long been plagued by delays and cancellations because of fog or other conditions, but the improvements that were completed last year, known as a CAT III system, are expected to increase reliability at Worcester airport.

WBJ News Editor Grant Welker contributed to this report.