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Fewer Worcester Airport Delays, Cancellations Expected After New FAA Regulation

JetBlue began service to Worcester in November with daily flights to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.

Photo credit: Patch file photo.
Photo credit: Patch file photo.

Massport predicts fewer delays, diversions and cancellations at Worcester Regional Airport after the FAA changed navigation regulations for the airport.

The FAA and Massport have been working on the issue of removing “obstructions” since 2011 and have identified and removed trees from runway approach areas. Removing the obstructions allows the FAA to reduce the Runway Visual Range, which “measures how far one can see down a runway and is one of two measurements for operating in reduced visibility,” according to Massport.

With this decision, the FAA has reduced the RVR minimums for Worcester Regional Airport from 4,000 feet to 1,800 feet. This should cut the number of flights affected by delays and cancellations associated with fog, said Massport.

Massport said the change should reduce the number of cancelled JetBlue flights. JetBlue began service to Worcester in November with daily flights to Orlando and Ft. Lauderdale.

“Reducing the minimums was an interim step in addressing low visibility conditions with the long-term goal being the installation of a so called Category III instrument landing system, which allows operations in near zero visibility for RVR and decision height, or the height of the cloud ceiling,” said Massport.

“This is a major milestone for Worcester Regional Airport as it develops into one of the key economic drivers for Central Massachusetts,” said Congressman James McGovern. “As the airport plays a growing role for travelers in and out of Massachusetts, this federally funded infrastructure improvement will increase the reliability of commercial service.”

“The changes to the navigation is another important installment in the long-term investment we are making to improve the efficiency and on-time performance of Worcester Regional Airport with the help of Congressman James McGovern and our partners at the FAA,” said Massport CEO Thomas P. Glynn.

At its peak in 1989, Worcester Airport served more than 340,000 people compared to 250,000 between 2009 and 2012. Massport said since commercial service returned to Worcester Regional Airport in November, “the percentage of flights that are operating as scheduled is similar to other smaller New England airports.”

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