Five or 10 years ago I would have laughed at the idea of Bradley "International" Airport trying to lure passengers from Fairfield County away from the New York airports. Today it doesn’t seem so silly.
Bradley has been growing and improving for the past few decades while the New York area airports have only gotten harder to deal with.
Case in point. Yesterday the kid flew from Bradley to San Diego with a change of plane at JFK. She got out of Bradley with no problem but the JFK flight was delayed at the gate and sat on the runway for a couple of hours. She arrived in San Diego 2 hours and 59 minutes late.
Of course, that’s anecdoctal. These things do happen. It’s just that at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark, they happen a lot.
In the April rankings of major U.S. airports by the U.S. Department of Transportation, the three New York airports came out dead last for on-time flight departures. At JFK, 41 percent of flights left the gate or arrived at their destinations more than 15 minutes late. At LaGuardia, 42 percent. At Newark, 45 percent.
U.S. News & World Report recently published its Airport Misery Index, which ranked JFK and Newark among the five most miserable airports in the country.
Does that make it worthwhile for someone from, say, Ridgefield to drive all the way to Windsor Locks? Well, it makes it more worthwhile than it used to be.
As for those of us in central Connecticut who used to go to New York for cheaper and/or more direct flights, particularly to international destinations, there is less incentive than ever to do that.
The cost of parking or the Connecticut Limo bus can eat away all the savings on the airfare, even if you can stand the traffic.
And Bradley has taken a step toward true international status with its first direct flights to Europe, starting July 1.
There has been no strong, concerted effort to address the problems that are choking the New York airports: huge increases in passenger traffic along with a switch to swarms of smaller planes, inadequate air traffic technology and outdated runway configurations, to name a few. Until that effort is made, Bradley will continue to benefit.