Passenger Traffic Gaining Altitude At Bradley - Gradually

Flying high?  Well, sort of.  Bradley International Airport reports an increase of 1 percent in passenger counts for 2013, including four consecutive months of growth at the end of the year.

The Connecticut Airport Authority assumed oversight of Bradley in July from the state Department of Transportation.  That effectuating Gov. Malloy’s proposal, approved by the state legislature two years ago, for a new quasi-state agency that would be more responsive to market opportunities and less grounded in the state’s bureaucratic procedures.

The numbers increased 1 percent in September, 4 percent in October, 3 percent in November, and a lofty 20 percent in December, the Hartford Business Journal reported.  The overall count of passengers getting on and off planes at Bradley was 5,421,875 in 2013, compared to 5,381,860 in 2012.

Looking slightlBradleyy farther back, in 2009 the total was 5,334,322.  The Bradley International Airport Strategic Plan for 2010-2013, prepared in 2009, anticipated 6,545,000 enplanements and deplanements in 2013 – about 125,000 more that the actual totals.  At that time, an annual average growth rate of 6.2 percent was projected.  The same report called for additional growth in passengers of 3.4 percent annually for 2013 – 2018.  The projections were provided in the InterVISTAS report, Bradley International Air Traffic Forecasts – Final Report, dated April 25, 2010.

So much for predictions.

Bradley continued its end-of-year growth pattern at the start of 2014, with passenger counts increasing 9 percent in January.  There is, however, a long way to go to achieve the numbers projected years ago, which are necessary to come within range of what’s needed to bring plans for a new terminal off the drawing boards and into construction.

Earlier this year, it was reported that if passenger counts increase as currently projected, and other conditions are realized, construction of a new Terminal B would tentatively begin in just under a decade, in 2022. The entire complex, with the additional new terminal, would be up and running by about 2024 at the earliest.  Picture2

Before that threshold is reached – which remains uncertain – plans are to proceed with roadway realignment, scheduled to start in late 2015 or early 2016, with completion in late 2017 or early 2018.  That would include a rotary to be built where the Route 20 connector, off Interstate 91 Exit 40, to the garage’s exit road, and a new access road to a newly constructed transportation center.

The elevated road in front of Terminal A just past the Sheraton would remain, then all upper level traffic would be diverted to the lower level. The elevated roadway in front of Terminal B will be demolished.

That would make space for a new ground transportation center, which is expected to have a rental car facility, about 800 public parking spaces and a transit center with curbside services for limousines, taxis, and buses.  Just about anyone driving past the old, rusting and vacant terminal eagerly anticipates its demolition, as much as the array of new services that are planned to replace it.

International Air Travel Connections Drop in Hartford, Jump in New Haven

The Brookings Institute has released data on the flow of international passengers in and out of the largest U.S. metropolitan areas.  The web-based data, drawn from a new report primarily comparing 2003 with 2011, highlights the scale of passenger traffic flows and points to the international markets where these ties are particularly strong. The report, “Global Gateways:  International Aviation in Metropolitan America,” released in October 2012, found that:

  • International air travel in and out of the United States more than doubled between 1990 and 2011. The growth in international passengers during the 21-year period was more than double the growth in domestic passengers and real GDP
  •  Since 2003, international air travel grew between the United States and every global region, with the strongest growth coming from emerging markets.
  • Just 17 metropolitan gateways captured 73 percent of all international passengers starting or ending their trip in the United States as well as 97 percent of all international transfer passengers.
  • As metropolitan economies expand their global reach through trade and investment, international avia­tion plays a pivotal role in the movement of people across national borders.

The national growth was not uniformly reflected in Connecticut.  Of all passengers flying to or from an international destination in Hartford, 17.9% flew direct.  The remainder required connecting flights.  The number of passengers flying internationally thru Hartford dropped from 347,311 in 2003 to 278,997 in 2011, a downward change of nearly 20 percent.  In 2003, Hartford was 40th of 90 airport locations; by 2011 that had dropped to  47th of 90.  The change was a 19.7 percent drop.

By way of comparison, Providence ranked 49th in 2003 in international travelers and 69th in 2011, reflecting a drop in passengers from 187,819 to 126,423, a drop of 32.7 percent.

The numbers for New Haven were considerably smaller, but tell an interesting story nonetheless.  The number of international travelers touching New Haven jumped by 133.5 percent between 2003 and 2011, from 1,645 passengers to 3,841 passengers.  That’s the largest percentage increase of any of the 90 locations in the nation.  In terms of the number of passengers, however, New Haven nudged upward from dead last (90th out of 90) to 89th.

The Brookings data “goes beyond describing where passengers are going and tells us how they get there.”  Using data on transfer points and a map that visualizes each leg of each international route, it paints a portrait of how the global aviation infrastructure rises to meet the demand of international passengers.