Bradley officials encouraged by increase in passenger traffic

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By Robin Lee Michel,
For The Airport News

Officials believe continued growth in passenger traffic indicates that Bradley International Airport is becoming an attractive travel option in the Northeast. (Photo by Robin Lee Michel)

Officials believe continued growth in passenger traffic indicates that Bradley International Airport is becoming an attractive travel option in the Northeast. (Photo by Robin Lee Michel)

Eight consecutive months of increased passenger traffic at Bradley International Airport have officials optimistic that the facility is becoming an attractive travel option for residents in the Northeast.
“We are pleased to see this level of consistent passenger growth over the past eight consecutive months,” said Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon.
The trend began in September 2013 when the number of inbound and outbound travelers rose by 1.9 percent over the same month in 2012. A CAA report detailed the subsequent increases: October, 5.7 percent; November, 3.4 percent; December, 19.7 percent; January, 9.1 percent; February, 10.5 percent; March, 11.2 percent; and April 13.1 percent. May and June statistics have not been released.
Manchester-Boston Regional Airport, in Manchester, N.H., T.F. Green Airport in Warwick (Providence), R.I., and Logan International Airport in Boston did not realize similar numbers, according to CAA statistics. Of these three airports, only Logan has seen an increase in traffic, averaging 3.5 percent in January through April over last year.
CAA officials attribute the consistent passenger increase to numerous factors, including increased routes, enhanced customer service and offerings, improved passenger processing times and an improved economy. The CAA also continues to promote Bradley’s accessibility from anywhere in the Northeast.
In 2013, improved route offerings included the addition of American Airlines’ daily nonstop flight to Los Angeles, Southwest Airlines’ three daily nonstop trips to Atlanta, and JetBlue Airways’ daily nonstop service to Fort Myers and Tampa. Most recently, JetBlue introduced two nonstop flights — 6:30 a.m. and 6:35 p.m. — to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on June 17. United Airlines is scheduled to begin flying this October to George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston.
“We look forward to engaging with airlines to continue offering our passengers new and exciting routes,” Dillon said.
Improvements to customer service such as a Frequent Parker program and additional concessions have also played a role in attracting travelers.
Dillon said the economy sets the tone for discretionary funding on travel and its improvement has prompted passenger growth. The increased number of seats and general economic performance are much more important than specific routes, although CAA strives to provide a diverse route menu to travelers, the executive director said.
Passenger processing times have been streamlined at the ticket counter and security. The Pre-Check Program provides expedited screening to passengers who have provided additional personal information prior to arrival. The Known Crew Member program provides separate screening for pilots and crews, freeing up capacity for the public in the standard security lines. At the ticket counters, airlines have been asked to focus on a higher level of customer service.
A major multi-million-dollar project that will transform Bradley’s footprint will begin this year with the removal of the Murphy Terminal, also known as Terminal B, that was constructed in 1952 and deemed obsolete in 2010. A new four-floor transportation center will feature the Consolidated Rental Car Facility, 900 parking spaces, a customer service center and people mover to transport customers to the main terminal.
CAA is marketing the expanded offerings to emphasize the access and convenience of Bradley over Boston and New York airports. “Also we underline the lower cost of services (hotels, dining, etc.) at Bradley compared to Boston and NYC. It is advantageous for businesses to use Connecticut and Bradley as an operating base and travel to NYC and Boston for business,” Dillon said. The marketing focus is also being expanded in certain regions such as Fairfield County and Southeastern Connecticut, which are potential population bases.
“As long as additional seats are added and the economy supports people’s ability to travel, we anticipate a [continued] increase,” Dillon said.

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