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January 29, 2019

Bradley Airport eyes new routes, possible name change in 2019

HBJ File Photo Bradley International Aiport.

New routes, updated bathrooms and discussion of a possible name-change for Bradley International Airport are on the Connecticut Airport Authority’s (CAA) 2019 agenda.

At a board meeting this month, CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon went over CAA’s goals for this year, which largely focus on expanding Bradley’s appeal on several fronts, Dillon said in an interview.

Establishing a route between Bradley and Seattle is “by far and away our No. 1 task,” Dillon said of prospective route additions. That’s partly because the number of nonstop flights to countries in Asia out of Seattle-Tacoma International Airport would allow easy access to the continent for customers flying out of Bradley.

CAA officials are also seeking routes to Phoenix, which could establish efficient West Coast travel options, and the Caribbean, Dillon said.

The Authority will also use 2019 to update all public bathrooms at Bradley, Dillon said, a project estimated to cost up to $6 million.

During the meeting, which was first reported on by the CT News Junkie, the board discussed progress on the planned $210 million ground transportation center at Bradley, which will include 830 parking spaces that will put all rental car companies in one space on-site and eliminate shuttling to rental sites. 

Most of CAA’s goals are in service of a larger ambition to make Bradley the premier airport in New England after the larger ones in Boston and New York, said CAA Board Chair Tony Sheridan.

“Travel in Connecticut is hard,  we have a crowded state, Route 95 is always crowded,” Sheridan said. “So we think outside of New York and Boston, Bradley should be the airport of choice, and I think we can get there quite handily.”

 In addition to passenger flights, CAA is also looking to expand its air cargo business, Dillon said.

“It’s a huge generator of employment, so we think there’s an opportunity here at Bradley to continue to advance some of the gains that we’ve made in air-cargo development,” Dillon said, noting that Amazon distributor Pinnacle Logistics last year began renting 90,000-square-feet of space at Bradley. That’s in addition to contracts with UPS and FedEx.

CAA officials are also mulling a possible name change for Bradley, Dillon said. The current name doesn’t give an indication of the airport’s location, Dillon said. Changing the name could help business as CAA tries to expand Bradley’s international footprint in coming years.

But whether CAA will move to change the name isn’t set in stone, Dillon said.

“We’re not committed to any particular action,” Dillon said. “We want to be very careful about that, the Bradley name in this region is very well known.”

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