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Will area firms grow as Logan does?

Massport talks world traffic, local biz

Jule Pattison-Gordon

Massachusetts Port Authority officials look to a bright future, expecting a continued upsurge in travelers, especially international ones. At a recent media roundtable, officials expressed interest in exploring how they can give local communities a greater share of business generated by this traffic.

Passengers are pouring into Logan Airport. In 2015, Logan handled 33.5 million flyers — an increase of 6 million over 2010, according to numbers presented by Massport officials. As they look ahead, they consider international travelers to be the fastest-growing group.

International traffic has risen significantly over the past few years. In 2015, Terminal E served more than 5.5 million passengers — up by 11 percent from 2014.

International travel is “growing by leaps and bounds,” José Massó, Massport director of Community Relations, said at the meeting.

Officials expect this trend to continue and have several plans in place to meet demand. Among them: expanding Terminal E with new seating rooms to accommodate a greater number of passengers as well as enhancing runways and turning areas to allow use of larger kinds of aircraft intended for international travel.

On the web

Current Massport requests for proposals:

New destinations

Terminal E will focus especially on Latin America and Asia, according to Massó. Massport CEO Thomas Glynn said that the authority is exploring offering JetBlue service to Haiti.

Officials have their eyes on further sites as well. Brazil is among Massport’s top three priority destinations, Glynn said, with India another hot-target. But such service hinges on finding an airline based in either country to run the flights, something Massport has yet to achieve.

Depending on how federal regulations go, flights to Cuba could be in the future as well, Massó said.

Business opportunities

The authority is interested in opportunities to bring more of the local community into the economic activity generated by the airport and its growth, Massó said. These opportunities are not limited to jobs for service workers, but also could include services such as landscaping and snow removal contracted with local providers, Massó said.

Travelers currently bump up against strictly limited parking, which generates a strong demand for access to public transit, taxis and rideshares. While Massport seeks to add 5,000 more parking spaces, outside transit services will remain critical. Currently 6,300 cabs leave Logan each day, and approximately 3,000 to 8,000 Uber trips are taken each week, Glynn said.

There also is potential for siting businesses. In addition to operating Logan, Massport owns, ground leases or manages nearly 585 acres of waterfront property in South Boston, East Boston and Charlestown, according to the authority’s website, representing further opportunities for business collaboration. Two upcoming additions will feature more Latino businesses, Massó said: La Casa Pedro, a Latin American restaurant coming to the waterfront, and a new Latino-owned kiosk.

Massport held a Massport Means Business event in East Boston in April and a Business Diversity Summit at the Seaport Hotel in June to provide information on how local businesses can get involved with Massport.

Currently, 21 percent of Massport employees are minorities, as are 23.5 percent of its 17-member senior staff, according to information Massport provided to the Banner. Women comprise 32 percent of overall employees and 29.4 percent of senior staff.

Local relations

Glynn also highlighted Massport’s recent completion of a 33-acre green space project in East Boston as demonstration of the authority’s commitment to fulfill promises to local communities and interest in being a good neighbor. The authority invested approximately $50 million in developing and maintaining green spaces in the neighborhood.