WORCESTER, Mass. (AP)- Worcester has ended almost two years without airline passenger service with JetBlue flights to and from Florida.
A flight from Orlando arrived Thursday afternoon at Worcester Regional Airport to launch the new service. The first outgoing flight left for Fort Lauderdale about three hours later.
The city of about 180,000, about 50 miles west of Boston, had been without service since Direct Air filed for bankruptcy protection.
The Telegram & Gazette reports the first flight was greeted by well-wishers including Worcester's minor league hockey team mascot. Its pilot was Worcester Polytechnic Institute graduate Craig Skinner, who first soloed at the airport in 1978.
JetBlue will have 19 Worcester employees and operate a daily roundtrip each to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale.
The airport is owned by the Massachusetts Port Authority, which also owns Boston's Logan International Airport.
© 2016 Cox Media Group.