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(NECN: Katelyn Tivnan) - Massport is launching a new campaign aimed at growing business at the Worcester Regional Airport.
"We are trying to target the Latino community ... About 10 percent of the people in Worcester County are of Latino heritage," Massport CEO Thomas Glynn says.
At a Latino leadership briefing in Worcester Friday, Massport joined a number of community leaders from central Massachusetts promoting Jet Blue's flights out of Worcester to the area's growing Latino population. The goal is for people to realize those flights to Florida don't end there, and they offer connections to destinations including San Juan, Santo Domingo, and Port au Prince.
"We definitely know there are going to be many people who will take advantage of those flights out of Worcester because they're already going to Manchester, they are going to Providence, they are going Hartford, they're going to Boston everyday," Juan Gomez of Centro Las Americas says.
"Those are international hubs and we want to get the word out you can get to those places by leaving Worcester," U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern says.
The new push comes on the heels of strong numbers released by Massport this week. Jet Blue flights out of Worcester are flying at 81 percent capacity. They say in the last three months, the airport has served more than 20,000 passengers.
"I think we recognize that all over the state and certainly in Worcester County that the Hispanic population is growing and that's part of the economic engine that we're trying to encourage, so if we're going to grow, we want to grow with the Hispanic community," Glynn says.
Back in 2011, Direct Air made a similar push to the Latino community after announcing international flights to Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. While the announcement was well received, the airline went bankrupt before passengers could take advantage.
"Direct Air was a disappointment and they raised expectations in the Latino community and they never delivered. Jet Blue is different, they're a first class airline," McGovern says.