Worcester Airport Strategic Business Planning

Worcester Regional lost commercial air service. A strategic plan was desperately needed.

A grim situation for a once proud regional airport
In the 1990s Worcester Regional Airport had become a commercial success and in the beginning of 2001 the facility served approximately 130,000 passengers per year. Unfortunately the events of September 11th, 2001 resulted in retrenchment in the airline industry and Worcester was no exception. Reduced demand led airlines to cancel service to the airport, decimating the commercial passenger service.

The need for a new plan
The City of Worcester turned to IMG Rebel to help address this problem and bring the airport back to life with a strategic plan. The situation was challenging because the airport had lost some federal funding and on-going operating costs that were being partially covered by the City of Worcester.

The initial study included an evaluation of the City's options to reduce the Airport's operating deficit, determine future management alternatives, identify revenue opportunities, and determine the financial impacts of potential operational scenarios. IMG Rebel assessed the market dynamics of the central New England region and reviewed the airport's operation requirements - including commercial and general aviation facilities.

Additionally IMG Rebel modeled the airport's overall financial situation and used these inputs to help determine options for the City of Worcester.

Marketing the airport
After being awarded grant funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, IMG Rebel was asked to support efforts to effectively promote the airport. This marketing was necessary to restore lost commercial service. This work attracted an airline that serviced Orlando for 12 months in 2005.

Airport transfer
IMG Rebel further advised the City of Worcester in its decision to transfer the airport to Massport. IMG Rebel advised on various alternatives to determine a target value for the airport and to assist the City in securing a fair purchase price and proper deal terms in the negotiation process. Preferred and alternate comparative valuation methods were applied to assure the property’s maximum return for the City was obtained. A financial model was built to evaluate the value of the airport under several alternatives. As part of this process, IMG assisted the City in coordinating its efforts and transfer process with the FAA. The airport transfer was announced in 2010. In 2013, JetBlue announced that it was providing Orlando and Fort Lauderdale service.

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