Fairfield County May Hold Key to Trans-Atlantic Flights at Bradley; Passenger Numbers Increasing

Bradley International Airport has seen passenger traffic increase for two consecutive months, and is stepping up efforts to re-establish service to trans-Atlantic destinations. The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) is working with the state’s business community and potential airline carriers to demonstrate the need for the overseas service. In May, passenger traffic at Bradley increased 9 percent, compared with a 7.8 percent decrease at T.F. Green Airport in Providence and a 9.5 percent decrease at Manchester Regional Airport in New Hampshire. Logan International Airport in Boston increased 7.5 percent that month.

During June, Bradley saw a 9.3 percent increase in passengers, while Providence saw a 7.3 percent decrease and Manchester saw passenger numbers drop by 14.6 percent. Logan experienced a 4.1 percent increase in June.  July data was not yet available.

Kevin A. Dillon, ExecuBradley_INTL_Logo.svgtive Director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, told members of the CAA at their August meeting that the state’s improved economy and ongoing efforts to add capacity at the airport are lead factors in the upbeat numbers. United Airlines recently announced plans to begin service to Houston in October. In June, JetBlue initiated service from Bradley to Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.

Year to date, Dillon reported, passenger numbers at Bradley are up 10.6 percent, while Providence is down 6.8 percent, Manchester is down 13.0 percent, and Logan is up slightly, 4.4 percent.

The return of trans-Atlantic service to Bradley is one of the CAA’s top priorities, Dillon said. Much of the business case for trans-Atlantic routes depends on corporate clients outside the immediate Hartford-Springfield market, Dillon explained. He indicated that the CAA would be “orienting our advertising program for the next year” toward Fairfield County and Southeastern Connecticut, to include targeted outreach urging potential business customers to “give Bradley a try,” underscoring that “Bradley is a great option” compared with the New York airports.

The CAA is also poised to move forward with the demolition of the old Terminal B at Bradley, with the contract awarded to S&R Corporation of Lowell MA, with a price tag of $12, 572,622.75. The CAA anticipates that the demolition will begin before the end of this month, consistent with the airport’s strategic plan. The goal of the CAA is to make Connecticut’s airports more attractive to new airlines, bring in new routes, and support Connecticut’s overall economic development and growth strategy.CAA logo

Members of the CAA also discussed a potential new retail business for the airport – Dairy Queen – and approved plans for a 20-year agreement with WFSB-TV for the lease of land at Bradley for a Doppler radar installation at Bradley, which would be relocated from Terminal B where it has been since 1999.

Bradley will also be enhancing band-with capacity of wi-fi at the airport, which has seen increased usage as passenger levels have increased.

Bradley International Airport is the second largest airport in New England. According to the most recent economic impact analysis, Bradley contributes $4 billion in economic activity to the state of Connecticut and the surrounding region, representing $1.2 billion in wages and 18,000 full-time jobs. The CAA was established in 2011 to develop, improve, and operate Bradley International Airport and the state’s five general aviation airports.