After seeing a 10 percent increase in passenger traffic over the past year, Bradley International Airport is aiming to develop new routes to London and other European locations, including Paris, Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Dublin.
Despite having the word “international” in its name, the airport currently only services domestic routes.
Allan Blair, former president and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, said he has high hopes that the European deals under discussion will move forward within the next few months. He said he has been working alongside several other economic development experts to bring an international carrier to Bradley for a tour of the airport.
“I have to say that the conversations that I’ve been involved in took place between people at very high positions,” he said. “This is way beyond speculative talk.”
Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon said an improved economy nationwide has offered Bradley an opportunity to expand their offerings and start flights to Europe.
Blair added that he believes international routes at Bradley would be economically beneficial to the surrounding region as a whole.
“If you look at other airports which established direct links to Europe in their early years such as Atlanta, for example, their financial growth tends to increase almost exponentially,” Blair said. “This allows airlines to increase seat numbers, which in turn leads to lower fares.”
Bradley and the Western Massachusetts EDC have been working for years to help convince international airlines to operate out of Bradley, Blair said.
If the deal moves forward, the new European service would be Bradley’s first international route since Northwest Airlines flights to Amsterdam were discontinued in 2007, after only 15 months.
Several European Yale students interviewed said the new service would be particularly beneficial to them, as many must take two-hour shuttles to John F. Kennedy International Airport to travel home.
Hertfordshire, England resident Frankie Andersen-Wood ’18 welcomed the news, adding that she has had multiple issues with transportation to and from JFK.
“JFK is very difficult to get to,” Andersen-Wood said. “Twice my shuttle has not turned up. The first time I could have missed my flight, and the second time I was forced to decide between sleeping in the airport overnight or getting a car to New Haven.”
Elizabeth Casey ’18, who lives in Stoke-on-Trent, England, said traveling to England currently takes an inordinate amount of time.
Casey said that, if she leaves campus at midday, she does not arrive back home in the U.K. until late the following night, when factoring in the travel time to JFK, the flight time, the trip from London to her home city and the time difference.
“Any way the trip could be made shorter would be so welcome,” Casey added.
Of five U.K. students surveyed, all said they would utilize Bradley, assuming that prices were comparable to those at JFK.