Competition in the airline business is cutthroat, but in a region that includes three airports in New York, one in Boston and another in Providence, the airport business is competitive, too.
That’s part of the motivation behind an open letter that Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) Executive Director Kevin Dillon wrote to customers.
Dillon wrote on the CAA website, “An airport needs passenger volume to convince airlines to start new routes, and passengers need the airport to offer the routes they want before they use that particular airport. Furthermore, if an existing route is not being adequately utilized, an airline can quickly decide to pull the service.”
In particular, Bradley now features routes with non-stop service to Dublin, Edinburgh, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
In the case of Aer Lingus, the state has promised millions in guarantees if its flights to Europe do not hit revenue targets.
Dillon said he’s confident those seats will be filled during peak tourism season over the summer. It’s the less frequent travel periods he’s concerned about.
"We need to make sure that in the lean winter months, it's the business community supports that flight,” Dillon said.
Bradley’s primary competition is Boston’s Logan Airport and New York's LaGuardia and JFK airports.
On the question of convenience, Dillon said in his letter Bradley can’t be matched for customers in the region.
He wrote, “Time and peace of mind may not have a quantifiable value, but they are surely valuable. The time that it took you to drive to JFK was costly. The anxiety you felt trying to find parking and navigating security at Logan was equally burdensome. The ease of using Bradley can be occasionally overlooked, but it should never be taken for granted.”
Governor Dannel Malloy, who has strongly favored and encouraged more long-haul and international flights said Dillon’s efforts aren’t a warning that the flights won’t be successful. He said they’re just good marketing.
“Look, parking is easier and cheaper at Bradley and it’s much easier to get in and out of Bradley compared to LaGuardia, Logan or JFK. I think that’s really what he’s saying,” Malloy said.
Dillon said he hopes the demand keeps up, as that’s the difference between a busy airport, or a quiet one.
"We want every seat here filled because if we can fill every seat that means we're going to get more seats and that's good for the economy."