Difficult times remain for Bradley International Airport and everyone that depends on it for their livelihoods.
A document obtained by NBC Connecticut Investigates indicates passenger traffic numbers remain woeful at Bradley due to coronavirus.
Some, like Julius Brown of New Haven, said they’re still traveling, despite the pandemic.
“As long as I wear my mask and I got my hand sanitizer with me, I feel safe,” Brown said.
Many though, have decided to stay home. The Connecticut Airport Authority reports passenger traffic in late August down between 71% to 81% compared to a year ago.
The CAA said Connecticut’s policy requiring incoming travelers from affected states to quarantine 14 days “….is having an impact on our passenger activity level at the airport. This translates into substantially reduced revenues.”
The CAA said while it understands why a health advisory is in place, it asks “…how can that be rationalized so that the risk can be managed, potentially through a testing program.”
Executive Director Kevin Dillon added the CAA believes the state could modify some testing and quarantine requirements, improving passenger volumes yet still managing risk. The Connecticut Department of Public Health said that is not something it’s willing to consider.
At the same time, the CAA said that car rental companies, who are expected to be some of the chief tenants of Bradley’s new $210 million transportation center, have asked the airport for help.
They have requested a reduction in a $7.5 million guaranteed annual minimum payment they make to operate there. It represents about 10% of Bradley’s annual operating budget.
This all puts Bradley International Airport and the CAA in a tough position. They could just demand the minimum payment from the car rental companies, but they also don’t want to push so hard that they push these companies into bankruptcy.
So far, there is no word on what the CAA plans to do. Its next meeting is slated for September 23.