Bradley International Airport
Summary
Airport typePublic
OwnerConnecticut Airport Authority
OperatorConnecticut Airport Authority
ServesState of Connecticut, Western Massachusetts
LocationWindsor Locks, Connecticut, U.S.
Operating base forBreeze Airways
Time zoneET (UTC-04:00)
Elevation AMSL173 ft / 53 m
Coordinates41°56′21″N 072°41′00″W / 41.93917°N 72.68333°W / 41.93917; -72.68333
Websitebradleyairport.com
Maps
FAA airport diagram (2024)
FAA airport diagram (2024)
Map
Runways
Direction Length Surface
ft m
06/24 9,510 2,899 Asphalt
15/33 6,847 2,087 Asphalt
Statistics (2023)
Aircraft operations (through July 31)77,685
Based aircraft52
Passengers6,248,165

Bradley International Airport (IATA: BDL, ICAO: KBDL, FAA LID: BDL) is a public international airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, United States. Owned and operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA),[1] it is the second-largest airport in New England.[3]

The airport is about halfway between Hartford, Connecticut, and Springfield, Massachusetts. It is the state of Connecticut's busiest commercial airport and the second-busiest airport in New England after Boston's Logan International Airport, with over 6.75 million passengers in 2019.[4] The four largest carriers at Bradley International Airport are Southwest, Delta, JetBlue, and American with market shares of 29%, 19%, 15%, and 14%, respectively.[5] As a dual-use military facility with the U.S. Air Force, the airport is home to the 103rd Airlift Wing (103 AW) of the Connecticut Air National Guard.

Bradley was originally branded as the "Gateway to New England" and is home to the New England Air Museum. In 2016, Bradley International launched its new brand, "Love the Journey".[6] In 2019, Bradley was the 55th-busiest commercial airport in the United States, by passengers enplaned.[7]

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021 categorized it as a medium-hub primary commercial service facility.[8]

The former discount department store chain Bradlees was named after the airport as many of the early planning meetings were held there.[9]

History

20th century

Bradley has its origins in the 1940 acquisition of 1,700 acres (690 ha) of land in Windsor Locks by the state of Connecticut. In 1941, this land was turned over to the U.S. Army, as the country began its preparations for the impending war.[10]

The airfield was named after 24-year-old Lt. Eugene M. Bradley of Antlers, Oklahoma, assigned to the 64th Pursuit Squadron, who died when his P-40 crashed during a dogfight training drill on August 21, 1941.[11]

The airfield began civil use in 1947 as Bradley International Airport. Its first commercial flight was Eastern Air Lines Flight 624. International cargo operations at the airport also began that year. Bradley eventually replaced the older, smaller Hartford–Brainard Airport as Hartford's primary airport.[10]

In 1948, the federal government deeded the Airport to the State of Connecticut for public and commercial use.[10]

In 1950, Bradley International Airport exceeded the 100,000-passenger mark, handling 108,348 passengers.[10] In 1952, the Murphy Terminal opened. Later dubbed Terminal B, it was the oldest passenger terminal of any major airport in the U.S. when it closed in 2010.[12]

The April 1957 OAG shows 39 weekday departures: 14 American, 14 Eastern, 9 United, and 2 Northeast. The first jets were United 720s to Cleveland in early 1961. Nonstops never reached west of Chicago or south of Washington until Eastern and Northeast began nonstops to Miami in 1967; nonstops to Los Angeles and Atlanta started in 1968.

In 1960, Bradley handled 500,238 passengers.[10]

In 1971, the Murphy Terminal was expanded with an International Arrivals wing. This was followed by the installation of instrument landing systems on two runways in 1977.

In 1974, construction began on an experimental People Mover to move people between the terminal and a parking lot 7/10 of a mile away. It was completed in December 1975. The People Mover consisted of a 7' wide roadway and two 30' long cars.[13][14] It cost US$4.5 million to construct and was anticipated to cost $250,000 annually to operate. Due to the high operating cost and the fact that the parking lot it was connected to was not being used, the system was never put in service and was dismantled in 1984 to make room for a new terminal building.[15][16] The retired vehicles from the system are now on display at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, Connecticut.[17]

In 1979, the Windsor Locks tornado ripped through the eastern portions of the airport. The New England Air Museum sustained some of the worst damage. It reopened in 1981.[18]

The new Terminal A and Bradley Sheraton Hotel were completed in 1986. The Roncari cargo terminal was also built.[10]

21st century

Food court and shopping hall connecting the East and West concourses of Terminal A

2001 saw the commencement of the Terminal Improvement Project to expand Terminal A with a new concourse, construct a new International Arrivals Building and centralize passenger screening. The airport expansion was part of a larger project to enhance the reputation of the Hartford metropolitan area as a destination for business and vacation travel. The new East Concourse, designed by HNTB, opened in September 2002.[10]

In December 2002 a new International Arrivals Building opened west of Terminal B,[10] housing the Federal Inspection Station with one jetway.[19] Two government agencies support the facility; U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The FIS Terminal can process more than 300 passengers per hour from aircraft as large as a Boeing 747. This facility cost approximately $7.7 million, which included the building and site work, funded through the Bradley Improvement Fund. Currently the International Arrivals Building is utilized by Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines (Apple Vacations) for their seasonal service to Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.[20] All international arrivals except for those from airports with customs preclearance are processed through the IAB. International departures are handled from the existing terminal complex.

In July 2007, Northwest Airlines launched a route to Amsterdam, Hartford's first direct flight to Europe.[21] Three months later, the Airbus A380 visited Bradley on its world tour, stopping in Hartford to showcase the aircraft to Connecticut workers for Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Sundstrand, both divisions of United Technologies, which helped build the GP7000 TurboFan engines, which is an option to power the aircraft. Bradley Airport is one of only 68 airports worldwide large enough to accommodate the A380. No carriers provide regular A380 service to Bradley, but the airport occasionally is a diversion airfield for JFK-bound A380s.[22]

Northwest Airlines terminated its service to Amsterdam in October 2008 because of the increased cost of jet fuel.[23] In the same month, Embraer, an aerospace company based in Brazil, selected Bradley as its service center for the Northeastern United States. An $11 million project was begun with support from teams of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Connecticut's Economic and Community Development. The center is intended to be a full maintenance and repair facility for its line of business jets and is expected to employ up to 60 aircraft technicians. The facility was temporarily closed ten months after opening due to economic conditions, reopening on February 28, 2011.[24][25]

On October 21, 2015, Bradley announced renewed transatlantic service, partnering with Aer Lingus to bring daily flights between Bradley and Dublin.[26][27] Service to Dublin began on September 28, 2016. On September 13, 2018, Governor Dannel P. Malloy announced that Aer Lingus service at Bradley International Airport will continue for at least four more years under a new agreement made with the state, committing the airline to continue its transatlantic service at the airport through September 2022. Aer Lingus committed to placing one of its first four A321LR aircraft on the Bradley to Dublin route, replacing the Boeing 757-200 assigned to the route.[28]

On February 17, 2022, Breeze Airways announced they would be establishing an operating base at Bradley International Airport. The announcement included the airline would begin service to an additional eight nonstop destinations from Bradley and create more than 200 new jobs.[29] On March 8, 2022, they announced service to six new destinations, Akron/Canton, Jacksonville, Nashville, Richmond, Sarasota/Bradenton and Savannah all beginning in June 2022.[citation needed] On July 13, 2022, the $210 million Ground Transportation Center opened, hosting a consolidated rental car facility and 830 additional general-purpose parking spaces.[30]

Facilities

Bradley International Airport covers 2,432 acres (984 ha) at an elevation of 173 feet (53 m). It has two asphalt runways: 6/24 is 9,510 by 200 feet (2,899 × 61 m); 15/33 is 6,847 by 150 feet (2,087 × 46 m).[1][31]

In the year ending July 31, 2023, the airport had 77,685 aircraft operations, averaging 213 per day: 71% airline, 16% general aviation, 13% air taxi, and <1% military. At that time, 52 aircraft were based at this airport: 27 jet, 18 military, 5 helicopter, and 2 multi-engine.[1]

Terminals

Current terminals

The airport has one terminal known as Terminal A with two concourses: East Concourse (Gates 1–12) and West Concourse (Gates 20–30). The East Concourse has 12 gates and houses the following airlines: Aer Lingus, Delta, Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit, Sun Country. The West Concourse has 11 gates and houses the following airlines: Air Canada, American, Breeze, United.

The Customs Building that is used for arriving international flights has been dubbed Terminal B and consists of one passenger gate.

The third floor of Terminal A has the administrative offices of the Connecticut Airport Authority.[32]

Former terminal

Former terminal B, also known as the Murphy Terminal, opened in 1952 and was closed to passenger use in 2010. It was slowly demolished starting in late 2015 and ending in early 2016. It housed the administrative offices of the CAA and TSA until its demolition.

Airlines and destinations

Passenger

AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Aer Lingus Dublin [33]
Air Canada Express Toronto–Pearson [34]
American Airlines Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Miami
Seasonal: Philadelphia, Washington–National
[35]
American Eagle Philadelphia, Washington–National
[35]
Breeze Airways Charleston (SC), Columbus–Glenn, Fort Myers, Jacksonville (FL), Las Vegas, New Bern,[36] Norfolk, Pittsburgh, Raleigh/Durham, Richmond, Sarasota, Savannah, Tampa, Vero Beach
Seasonal: Cincinnati,[37] Greenville/Spartanburg,[38] Myrtle Beach,[39] Orlando,[40] Phoenix–Sky Harbor
[41]
Delta Air Lines Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul[42]
Delta Connection New York–LaGuardia [42]
Frontier Airlines Orlando, San Juan, Tampa
Seasonal: Atlanta, Raleigh/Durham
[43]
JetBlue Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, San Juan, Tampa, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Los Angeles, Miami
[44]
Southwest Airlines Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Nashville, Orlando, Tampa
Seasonal: Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers
[45]
Spirit Airlines Seasonal: Fort Lauderdale, Myrtle Beach, Orlando [46]
Sun Country Airlines Seasonal: Minneapolis/St. Paul [47]
United Airlines Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Washington–Dulles [48]
United Express Houston–Intercontinental (resumes September 25, 2024),[49] Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: Chicago–O'Hare
[48]

Cargo

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AirlinesDestinationsRefs
Amazon Air Chicago/Rockford, Cincinnati, Fort Worth-Alliance, Lakeland, Ontario, San Bernardino, Wilmington (OH)
DHL Aviation Rochester (NY)
Seasonal: Cincinnati
FedEx Express Indianapolis, Memphis
Seasonal: Buffalo, Manchester (NH)
Wiggins Airways Manchester (NH), Poughkeepsie (NY)
UPS Airlines Chicago/Rockford, Louisville, Ontario, Philadelphia, Providence
Seasonal: Buffalo, Chicago/Gary, Dallas/Fort Worth, Harrisburg, Manchester (NH), Newark, New York–JFK, Syracuse

In addition to the regular cargo services described above, Bradley is occasionally visited by Antonov An-124 aircraft operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines, and Antonov Airlines, transporting heavy cargo, such as Sikorsky helicopters or Pratt & Whitney engines, internationally.

Military operations

Statistics

Enplaned passenger statistics

Top destinations

Busiest domestic routes from BDL (January 2023 – December 2023)[5]
Rank Airport Passengers Carriers
1 Florida Orlando, Florida 335,000 Frontier, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit
2 Georgia (U.S. state) Atlanta, Georgia 323,000 Delta, Frontier
3 North Carolina Charlotte, North Carolina 249,000 American
4 Maryland Baltimore, Maryland 222,000 Southwest
5 Illinois Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois 203,000 American, United
6 Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico 160,000 Frontier, JetBlue
7 Florida Tampa, Florida 133,000 Breeze, JetBlue, Southwest
8 Michigan Detroit, Michigan 131,000 Delta
9 Virginia Washington–Dulles, D.C. 123,000 United
10 Virginia Washington–National, D.C. 117,000 American

Airline market share

Largest airlines at BDL
(October 2022 – September 2023)
[5]
Rank Airline Total passengers Share
1 Southwest Airlines 1,069,000 17.54%
2 Delta Air Lines 1,056,000 17.32%
3 JetBlue Airways 976,000 16.01%
4 American Airlines 917,000 15.04%
5 United Airlines 479,000 7.86%
Other 1,599,000 26.23%


Graphs are unavailable due to technical issues. There is more info on Phabricator and on MediaWiki.org.
Annual passenger traffic at BDL airport. See Wikidata query.

Future

Airport construction

On July 3, 2012, the Connecticut Department of Transportation released an Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Evaluation,[75] detailing a proposal to replace the now-vacant Terminal B with updates and facilities intended to improve access and ease of use for Bradley travelers. The replacement proposal calls for:

The proposal calls for a three-phase construction program:

Actual completion dates depend upon funding and demand. As of May 2018 the project had not left the planning stage.[76]

Ground transportation

Rail

Amtrak and Hartford Line trains serve both the nearby Windsor Locks and Windsor stations.[77] As of 2019, weekday service includes eleven southbound trains and twelve northbound trains at Windsor Locks.[78]

A CT Transit Route 30x bus at Bradley International Airport in May 2023.

Bus

Bus connections
Bus transport System Route(s) Refs
CT Transit Hartford 24, 30x [79]

CT Transit provides bus transportation to and from Bradley International Airport through two routes. Route 24 (Windsor-Bradley Int'l Airport-Windsor Locks) connects the airport with the Windsor Locks and Windsor train stations while Route 30x (Bradley Flyer) provides express service to Downtown Hartford.[80]

Environment

The Connecticut Air National Guard 103d Airlift Wing leases 144 acres (0.58 km2) in the southwest corner of the airport for their Bradley ANG Base. The base is a designated Superfund site.[75]

Bradley has also been identified as one of the last remaining tracts of grassland in Connecticut suitable for a few endangered species of birds, including the upland sandpiper, the horned lark, and the grasshopper sparrow.[81]

Awards

In 2017, Bradley Airport was named 5th-best airport in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Awards. Bradley scored well with readers in the categories of on-site parking, availability of charging stations and free Wi-Fi, decent restaurant options, and overall relaxed atmosphere.[82]

In 2018, Bradley Airport was named 3rd-best airport in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Awards. Bradley scored well with readers in the categories of flight choices, on-site parking, availability of charging stations and free Wi-Fi, restaurant options, and overall relaxed atmosphere.[83]

In 2022, BDL airport was named 2nd-best airport in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Awards. Only Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport kept Bradley Airport out of the top spot.[84]

Accidents and incidents

See also

Previously marketed by defunct Skybus Airlines as "Hartford (Chicopee, MA)"

References

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