Bradley International Airport officials want to expand the destinations they offer to include stops “across the pond.”
One airline they are considering, Ryanair, is known for its low fares and creative cost-cutting methods.
The Dublin-based air carrier has juggled ideas from charging fees for printing boarding passes, creating standing-room only seats at the back of planes, and the most infamous idea that came in 2010: charging passengers to use the toilet.
The latter two ideas were flushed. But despite looking to offset costs, Ryanair reported record profits of 569 million Euros, or $734 million, in their last fiscal year.
Those earnings could rise if Bradley International attracts the discount airline to the Nutmeg State.
“I would love it if we had transatlantic from here,” said Joy Johns from Cummington, Massachusetts.
Johns drove an hour and a half to the Windsor Locks airport to put her son on a plane to the Netherlands. But because there’s no transatlantic flight out of Bradley, he first has to fly three hours in the opposite direction.
“I got here, and they wouldn’t put him on the 4 o’clock flight because then his connection would be the last flight of the day,” said Johns. “So now he has to go all the way to Minneapolis.”
Airport officials said this is an attractive option because it’s much less of a hassle to fly out of Bradley than bigger airports in big cities like New York and Boston.
“We’re very interested in reestablishing international service here at Bradley," said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the recently formed Connecticut Airport Authority, the leadership group responsible for Bradley and the state’s five other airports.
Dillon said they’ve reached out to many carriers about transatlantic service.
“We’re back in the game of marketing this airport very, very heavily,” Dillon said. “And we’ve had some success.”
Robin Kiely, head of communications for Ryanair, said the airline is always interested in new routes, but transatlantic flights are still years away beacause of the availability of long-haul aircraft.
"In the meantime, we're continuing to grow as Europe's biggest carrier, with 81.5 (millions) passengers flying Ryanair this year and we carry more international passengers than any other airline," Kiely said in a statement.
The state airport authority estimates that businesses in Connecticut spend nearly $40 million per year on flights across the Atlantic.
“I think more people would come out here if they knew they could,” said Johns.