Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks, 2nd biggest airport in New England
The Hartford Courant displays the following highlights about Bradley International Airport on its website, “Bradley International Airport is Connecticut’s biggest commercial airport. It is situated in the towns of Windsor Locks, Suffield and East Granby in Hartford County. With an average of 390 take offs and landings a day, it is the second busiest airport in New England, only behind Logan International Airport in Boston.” (Hartford Courant)
After my father received a transfer, my family moved from Valley Forge area of Pennsylvania to East Granby, CT so that he could be near the airport to travel for his job. Although the airport has been an international airport on and off for many years, it is small and convenient, and very easy to access.
Governor Jodi Rell wants to sell the airport
Governor Rell is looking at ways to cut the Connecticut Budget and the airport is on her radar screen. She wants to change the way that Bradley Airport is run. (Bradley Zone Bill passes house goes to Gov). Her Idea includes selling Bradley Airport for 800 million. The bill that was sponsored by the finance committee includes turning some of the area surrounding Bradley into a development zone and is being received well by both parties.
Thirty-year look back to traffic and business climate in the area
Back in 1976, when my family moved to the area, Hamilton Standard sat across from the airport on a two lane highway. Hamilton employed some 15,000 people at the 4-building complex and about 5,000 of them would converge on the local highways between 3:30 and 5:30 in the afternoon. Route 20, the local connector to route 91 would be gridlocked.
Mo’s H&M Grinder shop used to have lines twenty deep, and Frank’s Passport Restaurant was the place to bring a client for lunch. Sweet Life Foods and Hood’s Ice cream employees also patronized the local restaurants on the strip and traffic was intense.
Where did everybody go?
Fast forward 30 years, Hamilton (now Sundstrand’s) four building facility now houses about 3,000 employees rather than the 20,000 of its prime. Sweet Life Foods employed a thousand people and they have closed. Hood had about 500 people and it still there but with a skeleton crew. Other business such as FedEx, Pepsi, and Walgreen’s have crept in, but the traffic has moved from Windsor Locks towards the town of East Granby.
Nowadays the highways and byways are usually easy to manage, and many of the businesses that were popular when I was a teen have been either blown away by the Tornado that came through town just over thirty years ago now or they have folded up of their own accord.
Area is ready to take flight
In the last five years, there have been three new hotels that have popped up on Route 75 in Windsor Locks. In East Granby, Walgreen’s has opened a state of the art facility as their regional distribution center. The area is poised for growth, but will the businesses and traffic come?
JetBlue Airways, Delta and Southwest offering new flights out of Bradley Airport
On 4/19/2010, Bradley Airport’s press room announced JetBlue is coming to Connecticut. Governor M. Jodi Rell and Commissioner Joseph F. Marie announced that JetBlue Airways will begin service out of Bradley International Airport (BDL) effective November 17, 2010. JetBlue will launch twice daily nonstop service from BDL to both Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport (FLL) and Orlando International Airport (MCO). “This is a big win for all of us – our travelers, our business partners and Connecticut’s economy,” said Governor M. Jodi Rell.” (Bradley Airport Press Room)
On 3/12/2010, Southwest announces daily non-stop flights to Denver, Colorado. (Nonstop travel to Denver Begins/Bradley Airport Press Room). On 3/19/2010 Bradley also announced that Delta would be offering non stop daily service to Los Angeles, CA. (Hooray for Hollywood!)
Looks like the area is primed for flight.
Bradley International Press Room
Journal Inquirer, Hartford, CT Various Editions and Stories
Hartford Courant, Bradley International Airport Highlights