These are turbulent economic times for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. Passenger numbers plummeted when the pandemic hit, and it has been a rough ride ever since.
As the coronavirus crisis was taking off, business at Bradley Airport was doing the opposite.
“One day we screened about 200 people at the airport where typically you’d be talking numbers upwards of 10,000 people,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, which operates Bradley.
Dillon said prior to the pandemic, there were about 90 arrivals at the airport each day. Now, incoming passenger flights have been reduced to just 42 a day, about 85% percent of which are impacted by the travel quarantine order that right now includes dozens of states.
Anyone traveling to Connecticut from 34 states, as well as Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico, must now quarantine after the COVID-19 travel quarantine advisory list expanded Tuesday.
“The only flights we don’t have that are directly impacted are Philadelphia, Detroit and Denver,” Dillon said.
According to TSA security checkpoint data, on April 13, there were 98% fewer passengers compared to that same time last year. By June, there was a bit of a recovery, with 75% fewer passengers than the year before. But the latest numbers from July show things are declining again. There was an 83% drop in passenger levels at Bradley compared to July 2019.
Airlines and airports across the country have growing concerns as the pandemic continues to stretch on month after month.
Dillon said Southwest Airlines is drastically reducing service and will soon be offering Denver, St. Louis and Orlando flights on Saturdays only. Spirit Airlines plans to substantially cut back on the frequency of its Myrtle Beach and Orlando flights.
“It’s not only Southwest and Spirit,” said Dillon. “Delta Airlines has had to make adjustments. JetBlue is making adjustments.”
“Well, let’s face it,” Dillon said. “It all comes down to demand. When you’re talking about medium hub and small hub airports across the country, those are going to be the airports that get hurt.”