New Englanders are flying more often to more destinations, and indications are that the trend will continue. Published reports suggest that the region’s largest airport, Logan in Boston, is on track to becoming one of the 10 busiest airports in the United States by 2022. That’s good news for the region’s second largest, Connecticut’s Bradley International, according to officials, who have already been issuing a steady stream of good news.
A new study from OAG, a provider of travel data, found that while airports in the United States are growing at an average of 3 percent a year, Logan’s passenger rate growth is nearly 5 percent a year. That translates to millions more travelers flying out of Logan, the Boston Globe recently reported.
Delta plans to add 60 daily new flights out of Boston by 2021. That increase will result in an additional 10,500 passengers a day. JetBlue is adding 40 new flights a day, with an additional 5,100 passengers a day. It is slated to begin flights from Boston to London in 2021. Combined, the two airlines will add around 5.7 million seats a year, according to the Globe. Those growing numbers may also give Bradley a boost.
“Passengers value convenience and ease of travel, which is what Bradley International Airport is known for,” Alisa Sisic, Public Information Officer for the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA), told CT by the Numbers. “With BOS getting busier, and as such more congested, we are at an advantage because we remain a great alternative to those who look for that hassle-free travel experience.”
There’s reason to be optimistic.
The CAA, which operates Bradley, announced earlier this year that the airport has achieved six years of year-over-year passenger growth. Logan had its busiest year ever in 2018, handling more than 40 million passengers for the first time in its history. Bradley reached nearly seven million passengers for the first time last year. In total, the number of passengers using Bradley International Airport has increased by 23% over the six-year period, from 5,420,853 passengers in 2013 to 6,668,198 passengers in 2018.The breakdown at Bradley:
• 2013 – 5,420,853 passengers (+ 1.4 %)
• 2014 – 5,875,801 passengers (+ 8.4 %)
• 2015 – 5,933,808 passengers (+ 1.0 %)
• 2016 – 6,060,943 passengers (+ 2.1 %)
• 2017 – 6,436,407 passengers (+ 6.2 %)
• 2018 – 6,668,198 passengers (+ 3.6 %)
This summer, Bradley officials announced the debut of new, nonstop to Miami on low-cost carrier Frontier Airlines. The service to Miami will commence on November 14. It will be a seasonal flight and will operate on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays. Frontier Airlines currently operates flights to Denver, Orlando and Raleigh-Durham out of Bradley International Airport. The nonstop flight to Denver launched in March and operates year-round. The Orlando and Raleigh-Durham nonstop services launched in May and operate seasonally.
All three New England airports have major construction projects either underway or on the drawing boards. Governor Ned Lamont, state leaders, CAA officials, and project stakeholders held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site of Bradley International Airport’s new Ground Transportation Center in July. The new 1.4 million square feet facility will span across 13.4 acres and will be located west of the existing short-term and long-term parking garage, with a direct connection to Terminal A. Construction will be completed over the next three years, officials said.
“In 2018, we continued to aggressively pursue new nonstop flights and to modernize our facilities with the goal of making Bradley International Airport the airport of choice in the region,” said CAA Executive Director Kevin A. Dillon, A.A.E. said earlier this year. “We’re pleased that our passengers are taking note of the many exciting developments and we take immense pride in the confidence that they continue to place in us.”
Logan and Bradley are two of the three major airports in the region experiencing growth. The third, Rhode Island’s T.F. Green Airport, is as well.
The Rhode Island facility now describes itself as “one of the fastest growing airports in the U.S.” The airport operators, the Rhode Island Airport Corporation, announced this year that Sun Country Airlines was adding a new non-stop international route to the Dominican Republic. The route will be seasonal from November through April beginning November 16. Previously, the airline announced a Las Vegas route and a New Orleans route, slated to begin this month. They are in addition to routes to Nashville, Tennessee and Minneapolis/St. Paul established in recent years. Sun Country Airlines is based in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul.