Despite Drop in Summer Passengers, Bradley Continues Year-Over-Year Growth

For the month of October, there was a 3.6 percent year-over-year increase in passengers at Bradley International Airport, the strongest month thi syear, resulting in an overall 1.1 percent increase over the first ten months of the year, compared with 2014.   Save for a slight dip in July and August (and a minimal drop in February) – compared to record numbers in the  summer months a year ago – Bradley continues to see steady year-over-year increases in passenger traffic. The October uptick follows September’s 1.2 percent a percent increase, reflecting increases in passenger traffic in and out of Bradley during seven of the first ten months of the year, compared with a year ago. BDL

Bradley saw 17,000 fewer passengers in August 2015 compared with the previous August, after a drop of 5,142 passengers in July as compared with July a year ago.  The numbers are included in the minutes of the Connecticut Airport Authority, which oversees Connecticut’s airports including Bradley, the region’s second largest airport after Boston’s Logan Airport.

Since then however, the steady growth has resumed. From January through March, the passenger numbers at Bradley reflected a slight increase of 1.4 percent over the same period in 2014.  If the September and October growth continues in November and December, the airport’s passenger traffic is expected to once again exceed the previous year.

At New England’s other major airports, Logan Airport in Boston showed a passenger increase of 3.8 percent in the first quarter of 2015 above the same period the previous year.  At T.F. Green Airport in Providence, RI, passenger traffic declined by 2.3 percent in the year-over-year comparison.Picture6

In April, passenger traffic was up 1.3 percent above 2014 levels.  In May, Bradley again saw a slight uptick from May 2014, with passenger numbers increasing by 3.3 percent to 542,888.  Boston’s Logan Airport was up 4.9 percent from the previous May, and Providence’s T.F. Green Airport was virtually unchanged, up by 63 passengers.

Another increase in June, 1.5 percent above the previous June, continued Bradley’s strong performance.  The same was true of Logan Airport, where passenger numbers were up 5.7 percent in June 2015 as compared with the previous June.

Overall, from January to June, as compared with 2014, passenger numbers at Bradley were up 1.5 percent.  Logan Airport passenger numbers were up 4.4 percent from the previous year, while T.F. Green saw a decline of 1.3 percent.

July saw a decline in passengers at Bradley in the year-over-year comparison.  Bradley’s passenger numbers were down 1 percent for the month – 534,071 in July 2015 versus 539,213 the previous year.  T.F. Green Airport was also down, by 1.7 percent, while Logan saw its passenger numbers higher this year than last, by a considerable 6.8 percent.

In August, passenger numbers at Bradley were down again in 2015 as compared with 2014.  The decline was 3.2 percent, dropping by more than 17,000 passengers, from 538,442 to 521,000.  Logan was up again, by 6 percent, while T.F. Green’s numbers were virtually identical.

Even with the decline in slight declines in February, August and July, however, Bradley still showed a narrow net gain in passengers this year when compared with the first ten months of 2014, just over one percent.  Through September, the calendar year total was 4,435,206.  Among the carriers at Bradley, Southwest (621.027), Delta (489,853), the merged US Air/American (356,209) and JetBlue (310,432) saw the largest number of passengers boarding flights.

Earlier this fall, CAA officials announced the return of trans-Atlantic flights from Bradley, beginning in September 2016.  Bradley will be one of three new aerlocations in the United States to offer Aer Lingus flights to Ireland.  The daily service will include one evening departure from Bradley and one afternoon departure from Dublin.  Published reports indicate that the State offered a $4.5 million guarantee against losses in each of the first two years, plus $5 million in other inducements to establish the Bradley-Dublin route. The financial inducements to Aer Lingus could reach $14 million: up to $9 million in loss protection from the state Department of Economic and Community Development and $5 million from the CAA, including $3.8 million in marketing over three years and about $1.2 million in waivers of various fees at the airport over two years, reports have indicated.

bdl demoThe demolition of the half-century old Terminal B is underway at Bradley, with plans for a transportation center, additional parking (for cars and planes), and free shuttle service from the airport to the train station in Windsor Locks in the planning stages.

The CAA also governs airports in Groton/New London, Danielson, Windham, Waterbury/Oxford, and Hartford/Brainard.  The Authority’s November meeting was cancelled.  It is next scheduled to meet on December 14. The CAA is led by a volunteer Board comprised of regional leaders in transportation, aviation, business, law, politics, economic development, and other areas of industry.  The chair is Mary Ellen Jones of Glastonbury; the vice-chair is Michael T. Long of Simsbury.

Amtrak ridership breaks all-time records, local corridor sees increase

Amtrak ridership increased in the first six months of fiscal year 2013, with ridership in March setting a record as the single best month ever in Amtrak’s history.  Ridership grew 0.9 percent from October 2012 to March compared to the prior year, despite disruptions from weather, including Superstorm Sandy.  Amtrak said 26 of 45 routes had rider increases during the period and monthly records were set in October, December and January. Ridership on the New Haven – Springfield shuttle grew from 33,196 in March 2012 to 36,962 in March 2013, an increase of 11.3 percent.  Ridership from October 2012 through March 2013 grew by 5.2 percent from the same period a year earlier.  The Acela Express ridership dropped off slightly amid the record-breaking numbers, likely due to service interruptions due to Superstorm Sandy, down 2.5 percent last month compared with a year ago.NHHS

The numbers are encouraging as plans continue to move forward for dramatic improvements and expansions of service on the 62-mile New Haven-Hartford-Springfield (NHHS) corridor in the coming years.  Amtrak is continuing the installation of underground signal and communication cables, required to upgrade signal and communication systems for the NHHS rail corridor.

Work this month is scheduled in Newington, Hartford and Windsor.  The NHHS rail service project will connect communities, generate sustainable economic growth, help build energy independence, and provide links to travel corridors and markets beyond the region, officials say.

The new NHHS rail service will operate at speeds of up to 110 mph, cutting travel time between Springfield and New Haven to just 78 minutes. When the new service is launched in 2016, travelers at New Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Berlin, Hartford, Windsor, Windsor Locks, and Springfield will board trains hourly during the peak morning and evening rush hours and every 90 minutes during off-peak periods. When all the planned improvements are completed, trains will operate every 30 minutes during peak periods. The full program also includes future, amtrak1new train stations at North Haven, Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield.

Nationally, long-distance routes with ridership growth in the October-to-March period included the New York City to Georgia route, the Palmetto, up 10.5 percent, and the Coast Starlight, which operates between Los Angeles and Seattle, up 10 percent.  Amtrak said ridership was up 9.8 percent on the Illini/Saluki, which operates between Chicago and New Orleans; 8.9 percent on the San Joaquin in California, 8.6 percent on the Piedmont in North Carolina and 8.2 percent on the Wolverine route in Michigan.

Amtrak officials say they expect to end the fiscal year at or above last year’s record of 31.2 million passengers.  The sixth annual National Train Day will be celebrated around the country on May 11.

Amtrak is America’s Railroad®, the nation’s intercity passenger rail service and its high-speed rail operator, with more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates intercity trains in partnership with 15 states and contracts with 13 commuter rail agencies to provide a variety of services.


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.