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May 21, 2021

Bradley Airport to launch six new nonstop routes, four with new airline Breeze Airways

Photo | Contributed Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks.

Newly launched airline Breeze Airways will run nonstop routes from Bradley International Airport to Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Norfolk, Va.; and Pittsburgh, Pa.

Additionally, Bradley today is starting a nonstop route to Minneapolis with Minneapolis-based carrier Sun Country Airlines, and will establish a nonstop Bradley-to-Orlando route via Sun County in September.

Breeze Airways flights from Bradley to Charleston will start May 27, and routes to Columbus, Norfolk and Pittsburgh will commence July 22, according to the quasi-public Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA), which oversees Bradley.

“This announcement today is further recognition that one of our greatest assets as a state and a region is Bradley International Airport, and these new destinations allow for residents to be connected to new business and tourism travel markets," Gov. Ned Lamont said of the new service.

Based in Salt Lake City, Breeze Airways was founded by David Neeleman, who also founded JetBlue, Brazil’s Azul, Canada’s WestJet, and Utah-based Morris Air, which was later purchased by Southwest Airlines. The new carrier will offer low-cost point-to-point flights from smaller secondary airports, bypassing hubs for shorter travel times, according to the company.

“I know Connecticut well from many years living there and we see a significant number of unserved markets from Bradley that will provide us with many years of growth opportunities," Neeleman said.

The new routes out of Bradley come as the commercial aerospace industry attempts to bounce back from a disastrous pandemic period during which air travel cratered. CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon last month said the airport was starting to see an uptick in activity — passenger traffic was down about 65% from pre-pandemic levels, an improvement from about a 75% decline just a few months earlier.

While about 65% of Bradley's pre-pandemic passengers were business travelers, Dillon said CAA is focusing more on adding routes for leisure travel, as he and others in the aerospace industry think those customers will return to the air faster than those traveling for work.

He’s also courting airlines for a route to Jamaica, calculating there could be pent-up demand for travel there among Greater Hartford’s large Jamaican population.

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