From Robert Whitcomb’s “Digital Diary,’’ in GoLocal24.com
Greater Providence has long been hurt by the absence of direct flights to the West Coast from T.F. Green Airport (although there are a few direct flights to Europe). That is especially true for sectors connected with media and tech. Consider Pawtucket-based Hasbro, which has long since become an entertainment business rather than just a toy company. So its creative and executive people need to go back and forth a lot to Los Angeles. L.A. and New York are the media and entertainment capitals. No wonder that Hasbro is reportedly considering moving its headquarters to one of those two cities. Or it might settle for downtown Providence, especially because the Rhode Island School of Design is there.
The Providence area has many animators, filmmakers, illustrators, graphic designers and so on. Many have work that may take them often to and from the West Coast.
And many southern New England companies need to keep connected with the tech hubs of Silicon Valley, in the San Jose/San Francisco area, and Seattle.
Now that T.F. Green Airport’s main runway has been extended, non-stop service to the West Coast is feasible, offering a way to avoid the frustrating congestion you must go through to get to and from Boston’s Logan Airport.
Some see Sun Country Airlines’ announcement that it will start service this spring from Green to Nashville and Minneapolis-St. Paul as an interim step toward those direct flights. The airline has numerous flights from its Minnesota base to the West Coast. Let’s hope that Hasbro, etc., persuades the airline to start non-stop flights from Rhode Island to the West Coast as soon as possible.
“Creative types’’ want to be near creative types. Thus it’s not surprising that the growing Alex and Ani jewelry company is moving from Cranston to downtown Providence, not coincidentally next to the Rhode Island School of Design (which has produced many jewelry designers) and in a neighborhood crowded with Millennials. Sort of like Amazon setting up new headquarters in New York City and Arlington, Va., right across the Potomac from Washington, D.C.
Alex and Ani is opening new stores on the West Coast, which should encourage the company to join Hasbro, et al., in lobbying for nonstop flights from Green to the West Coast.