Tweed-New Haven Airport is moving forward with plans to expand. This comes after the airport authority board of directors approved a new lease agreement Wednesday night.
A major part of this decades-long deal is the construction of a new terminal, which will add more flights to the current 14 non-stop destinations. Those who travel in and out of southern Connecticut might notice changes in a few years.
"Last year, Avelo began service in our airport and 250,000 people have come in and out of that airport in just that short period of time," said Sean Scanlon, executive director of Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority.
Inspired by this demand, the airport agreed to a 43-year lease agreement with a company called Avports, which plans to invest $100 million for a new terminal and runway extension. It will also be used to address traffic and safety improvements as well as noise and environment mitigation.
"We take all of those concerns very seriously and we are in the middle of doing what's called an environmental assessment that looks at everything from health to wildlife to wetlands to traffic to noise," said Scanlon. "If we can't mitigate any problem that that report shows, we can't move forward on this project."
But those who live nearby are not in favor of the plan.
"This isn't Hartford. This isn't Westchester. There's not a lot of space around the airport. It's all residential. I think just the pointed question is, who is really paying and suffering the consequences for the airport expanding?" a mother from New Haven asked.
Those catching flights Thursday morning shared their views about the expansion plan. One man enjoys how simple it is to visit his family and would like to keep it that way.
"It's intimate, it's small, it's easy. I'd rather keep it small to respect the neighborhood," said John Moses, of Charleston, North Carolina.
The airport's environmental assessment is expected to be completed next year. Once approved, construction can start and will likely wrap up by 2024.
"If I lived here, I can understand how I'd feel about it. I'd probably be anti-expansion. The good news is what it brings to Connecticut, which is increased revenue. Given with what the state has done to date with business. I think it's a shot in the arm quite frankly," said Jack Pettit, of Bridgeport.
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