Public investment in T.F. Green starts to show significant payoff

After nearly 20 years and roughly a quarter of a billion dollars spent, the extension of the runway at T.F. Green Airport seems to be yielding a payoff.

From new domestic and international service to the recent announcement that a Dallas-based logistics company was creating a new operation at the airport and in the Quonset Business Park, the R.I. Airport Corp. and state economic-development agencies are seeing successes.

The challenge now will be to make the new air service self-sustaining, that is, not dependent on the standard two-year “introductory pricing” that often attracts airlines to a new destination only to see them pack up after the deal is done. Condor Airlines anyone?

At least for Norwegian Air, with its flights to Ireland, Scotland and Norway, the first full month of service seems to have been a winner. The low-cost carrier picked up 5.4 percent of the passenger traffic at T.F. Green in July. Continued growth in that service would go a long way to securing permanent service to Europe, as well as attracting new service, such as direct to the West Coast, which is how the extension was sold to the state.

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Pinnacle Logistics expects to hire 300 full- and part-time workers, with space for cargo and two airplanes, and an option to add two more planes to the operation. If Pinnacle is able to prove that Rhode Island is a good place for this kind of operation, how long before other companies join it here?

Economic development is not an overnight endeavor. It’s good to see that in the fullness of time, success comes thanks to consistent, smart effort.