Tweed Gauges Demand for Flights to Washington, D.C., Other Destinations

Tweed New Haven Regional Airport, the City of New Haven and the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce are currently soliciting feedback from businesses regarding existing air travel patterns and expenditures, as well as anticipated air service needs this year.  The survey is intended to quantify the demand for air service and to pinpoint the most critical destinations sought by local businesses. Of particular interest:  Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.  A recent email from the New Haven Manufacturers Association to members of the association, for example, seeks opinions regarding travel to the nation’s Capital.  The email asks two questions:

  • Does your company have a need to be in the DC area on a regular basis?
  • If so how many flights a month would you estimate you company would use?

Under consideration is service that would include three flights down and three flights back each day, Monday - Friday, “which means you could be there and back within the day.” Though Dulles is outside of DC, the email continues, “the Silver Line train will soon be connecting the airport to the DC subway system.”img_logo

In urging participation in the survey, officials note that “with accurate information regarding the potential market for increased destinations, the airport can make a compelling case for additional flights and carriers.”  The survey is also posted on the Tweed New Haven website.

Currently, Tweed’s flights to Philadelphia are the airport’s primary gateway hub.  The airport’s website highlights “Fly first to Philadelphia and connect to hundreds of destinations for less that it would cost to drive and park at our other nearest airports. These costs in time, stress, and dollars are seldom counted in the cost of travel.” Tweed offers US Airways Express service to and from Philadelphia International Airport, currently three flights a day.  US Airways is currently in the midst of merging with American Airlines. img_airport_hvn3_lg

Tweed New Haven Airport Authority manages and operates Tweed New Haven Regional Airport under a long term lease from the City of New Haven, according to the Chamber of Commerce website.  Chartered by the State legislature, the Authority is a 15-member board of directors appointed by the mayors of New Haven and East Haven and by the South Central CT Regional Council of Governments.  The Airport is operated by the firm of AvPORTS and administered in part by Chamber staff.

“Improving scheduled air service and the physical infrastructure at Tweed is considered the #1 economic development priority of the region,” the Chamber website points out.

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.