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Going Global: Boston's International Flight Expansion

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

BOSTON – Promoting the Massachusetts economy in the global market took center stage Tuesday at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce government affairs forum. Gov. Deval Patrick joined executives from Copa Airlines and Hainan Airlines along with Massport to discuss the value of international air service to our growing economy.

“Lasting growth in the 21st century global economy will come from our competitiveness in global markets,” said Governor Patrick. “Thank you to the Chamber and the team at Massport for working side-by-side to better establish Massachusetts as an international business and tourist destination.”

The Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce has identified the expansion of international connections as one of its top priorities for promoting the Massachusetts economy in the global market. Logan now serves 36 overseas markets with nonstop service, up from 26 international destinations a decade ago.

”Direct international connections to Logan benefit our economy and our community, providing improved access to overseas markets and showcasing Boston as a gateway to our region,” said Paul Guzzi, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce. “Thanks to the work of Governor Patrick, Massport, and other leaders, we have been remarkably successful in expanding the number of these flights, and the Chamber strongly supports continuing these efforts moving forward.”

International air service is the fastest growing segment of the Logan Airport travel market, up 20% in the past decade with 5.7 million international travelers served last year. International travelers now constitute 1 in 5 passengers at Logan Airport with long-range forecast predicting the number of international departing seats increasing 7.5% in 2014.

To improve the customer experience, Massport will invest nearly $100 million at Terminal E including the construction of a new post-security connector between Terminal C and E for transferring passengers; state-of-the-art Customs and Border Protection (CBP) processing kiosks which will include Global Entry and passport processing kiosks; and the renovation of gates to accommodate Airbus A-380 aircraft – the largest commercial aircraft flying which Massport expects to service in the near future.

“Boston Logan is the region’s gateway to the global economy,’’ said Thomas P. Glynn, CEO of Massport, the airport’s owner and operator. “We have had success, but we must continue to develop new routes, make Terminal E welcoming to the global citizens who pass through it every day, and make certain the airport continues to be the region’s efficient economic engine.’’

Since 2012 Massport has announced five new international airlines targeting the fastest growing areas of the global economy: Latin America, India and the Middle East, and Asia with Copa Airlines, Emirates, Turkish Airlines, Japan Airlines and Hainan Airlines, respectively. Nonstop flights to these five markets will generate $734 million in economic impact and $22 million in tax revenue.

“Without question, international air service is a key element for the economic success of any city or state,” said Pedro Heilbron, CEO, Copa Airlines. “Copa’s nonstop Boston-to-Panama flight has contributed significantly to increases in air traffic, not only from Panama -- which has the fastest growing economy in Latin America -- but also from countries such as Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and many of the other destinations we serve in the region. Copa is very pleased to be a catalyst for economic growth both here in Massachusetts and throughout Latin America.”

Massport attributes success in attracting new international service to the diversity of our local economy – financial services, technology, healthcare, education and tourism; enthusiastic support from the business community; the new generation of aircraft – Boeing 787 and Airbus 350 – that can fly long distance routes from shorter runways like Logan’s; and the leadership of Governor Patrick in promoting Massachusetts around the globe with international business leaders through various trade missions.
“We are very excited to provide nonstop service between Boston and Beijing,” said Pubin Liang, Managing Director of Hainan Airlines in North America. “Massachusetts’ diverse economy and high income makes this market a natural fit that will bolster business and tourism opportunities between Boston and Beijing.”

Boston Logan, 15 minutes from the intersection of Route 128 and I-90 and five minutes from downtown Boston, and serves as the gateway to the New England region and offers nonstop service to 76 domestic and 36 international destinations and in 2013 handled more than 30 million passengers. Boston Logan is served by two public transit lines and is the Air Line Pilot Association’s Airport of the Year for 2008 because of its commitment to safety. Over the past decade, the airport spent $4.5 billion on a modernization program that includes new terminals, public transportation access, parking facilities, roadways and airport concessions, and has been transformed into a world-class 21st Century facility. The airport generates $7 billion in total economic impact each year.

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The Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) owns and operates Boston Logan International Airport, public terminals in the Port of Boston, Hanscom Field and Worcester Regional Airport. Massport is a financially self-sustaining public authority whose premier transportation facilities generate more than $8 billion annually, and enhance and enable economic growth and vitality in New England. No state tax dollars are used to fund operations or capital improvements at Massport facilities. For more information please visit