March 18, 2019

MassDOT: Worcester airport has $97M economic impact

Photo/Grant Welker
Worcester Regional Airport employs nearly 600 workers whose $30 million in combined salary helps fuel a $97 million economic impact, according to a state report.

Worcester Regional Airport has an economic impact of $97 million, according to a study released Monday by the state Department of Transportation.

Some of that impact comes from the state-owned airport's nearly 600 employees, who earned what the study said was nearly $30 million. The remainder of the airport's impact comes from what's called the multiplier effect, which includes spending in the community by those workers, as well as by those flying in and out of the airport.

The release of the study, which analyzed Logan International Airport in Boston and others, comes as the state plans a $300,000 marketing campaign aimed at getting more Central Massachusetts residents to use the Worcester airport. The Massachusetts Port Authority, which owns Worcester Regional, Logan and others, said the marketing campaign will include billboards and social media ads to raise awareness about the airport's convenience, parking options and connections.

Worcester Regional has added new flights to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City and Philadelphia in just over the past year. That expansion of services was made possible in part due to a $36-million landing system upgrade making landing safer in inclement weather.

The airport has regular flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale in Florida. In August, the airport is due to add a connection to Detroit.

Massport says it has invested more than $100 million into Worcester Regional since buying the airport from the city in 2010.

Worcester Regional's economic impact places it seventh statewide.

Logan has an economic impact of $16.3 billion, the state's study found, followed by Hanscom Field in Bedford at $6.7 billion. Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee and commercial airports in Hyannis, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket had greater economic impacts than Worcester.

Thanks to those new commercial routes, Worcester Regional's economic impact rose sharply from the last state report. A 2014 report put the airport's estimated impact at $46 million.

The most recent study included smaller general aviation airports, including Stow Minute Man Air Field (with 210 employees and a $25.8 million impact), Fitchburg Municipal Airport (162 employees; $17.6 million), Southbridge Municipal Airport (57 employees; $6.2 million), Sterling Airport (18 employees; $1.9 million), Gardner Municipal Airport (eight employees; $1 million), Hopedale Industrial Airport (13 employees; $1 million), Spencer Airport (three employees; $356,000) and Marlborough Airport (one employee; $189,000).

Marlborough Airport was sold in December for $1.9 million to Capital Group Properties of Southborough, which plans a development with 12 industrial buildings.

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