While the pandemic has significantly impacted air travel at Bradley International Airport, it has also played a role in keeping one of the biggest construction projects in our state on, or slightly even ahead of schedule.
A new Ground Transportation Center planned for Bradley has been slated for substantial completion in February 2022, with an official opening in May 2022.
Once the transportation center has been built, travelers will be able to rent a car without having to leave the airport property.
Car rental companies have always been off-site, and travelers must wait for a shuttle bus, and take a five-minute ride to get to them.
Jason Bartlett of Florida comes back to New England to visit family in Vermont and said making it easier to get a rental car would factor in his decision on which airport he uses.
“I still go to Boston some now, when I come in, but I would use here much more if that was the case”, Bartlett said.
Connecticut Airport Authority executive director Kevin Dillon said the project, which broke ground in the summer of 2019, is a bit ahead of schedule, thanks to good weather, and the availability of workers thanks to the pandemic.
“Construction as you could imagine, is off in a lot of locations, a lot of places have scaled back in terms of moving ahead with projects,” Dillon explained.
“If we weren’t as far advanced with this project prior to the pandemic, we might have had to slow it down somewhat. But we were already committed with the financing and we had purchased all the materials. So it made all the sense in the world for us to continue on," he added.
Dillon said the project is being financed solely through rental car revenues.
Olafemi Hunter of New Haven said he believes the project has promise not just for travelers, but also for businesses looking for a convenient airport.
“They must be intending on bringing some more big business on down this way then, so it could be exciting”, Hunter said.
Dillon added the project also includes plans to open the airport to a new set of travelers.
“We’re also envisioning a transit center where we can process bus passengers, and hopefully in the future also process rail passengers as well”, Dillon said.
The new Ground Transportation Center will also increase public parking spaces by almost 10%.
Currently Bradley has approximately 8000 parking spaces.
The project will add roughly 830 spaces, 480 covered, and 350 uncovered.
As for what will happen to the property where the car rental companies are currently located, the CAA said those lease agreements will continue for the foreseeable future even after the Ground Transportation Center is completed.