Bradley Airport

Bradley Airport Sees More Passengers as Pandemic Restrictions Ease Up

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Bradley International Airport released new information about the number of passengers they're seeing now in comparison to before the pandemic.

At the start of the pandemic, the number of people traveling reached record-low levels and now, those numbers are starting to go back to normal.

Over the course of the past few months, more and more people have started flying again, according to the newest data.

NBC Connecticut's Dan Corcoran spoke with the executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, Kevin Dillon, who oversees operations at Bradley. He said the airport's recovery is underway - mostly because of people who haven't been able to travel due to the pandemic and are anxious to get away.

"The type of passenger we're seeing today is really the leisure traveler. There's a lot of pent up demand for people looking to take that vacation. We are hopeful that we're going to start to see an uptick in the business travel and from what we're hearing, a lot of companies are planning to resume that when they return to the office this fall," Dillon said.

"We are keeping an eye on the Delta variant. Hopefully, that doesn't delay a lot of the plans for the businesses to return because business travel is extremely important. It's really the lifeblood of all of our routes here at the airports. So that's very, very important to see that return," he continued.

Here's how passenger volume has progressed for the first half of this year in comparison to pre-pandemic times in 2019.

In January, the number of passengers was down more than 66%. But starting in March, things started getting better month-to-month after the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine.

In June, passenger volume was down just under 20%: a big improvement with a lot of room for improvement.

"Our revenue is directly tied to our passenger volume. So as the passenger volume recovers, our revenue picture is looking much better as well. We're still down substantially, in terms of revenue. When you're down 20 percent, your revenue's going to be down 20 percent," Dillon said.

Bradley is actually doing better than most mid-sized airports, according to Dillon. He says that August and September projections are looking really good so far.

But it has been a difficult year and a half. The airport has had to cut back on expenses and suspend several construction projects.

They even had a hiring freeze which was just recently lifted, mainly due to the fact that the revenue picture is looking better. Also, more employees are needed to keep up with all those passengers that are finally feeling ready to fly again.

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