From Mayor’s Office. See additional background here.
Today, the City of Bridgeport Airport Commission approved the sale of Bridgeport Sikorsky Airport to the Connecticut Airport Authority for $10 million; the apparent maximum amount the City may retain from a sale of the airport as established by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Mayor Ganim stated, “I am very happy that we have come to a vote to sell to the CAA. The City has been working diligently over the past few years to bring back passenger service to the airport and this transfer of ownership is expected to expedite that process.”
Kevin Dillon; Executive Director and CEO of the Connecticut Airport Authority, stated, “The Connecticut Airport Authority is pleased that the Airport Commission chose to move forward with progressing the CAA’s acquisition proposal to the City Council. If we are able to complete this deal, we look forward to working with the City of Bridgeport and Town of Stratford to maximize the potential of the airport and the region’s economic development.”
More than two decades have passed since the Bridgeport airport has provided regular passenger service. Since then, it has operated for general aviation which only includes air service for private and corporate entities. The CAA has committed to administering more than $60 million of improvements to the airport which include the appropriate airfield and landside infrastructure necessary to support the development of commercial air service.
The CAA was established in 2011 and currently operates several Connecticut airports, most notably Bradley International Airport. In addition to a commitment to improvements and many years of successful airport operations, the CAA will create an Airport Advisory Committee to ensure communication between the airport and the local community. All existing City of Bridgeport employees who are currently employed at the airport will be offered continued airport employment.
So what can we sell next, Seaside Park?
Are we supposed to take seriously Ganim2’s statement that our Airport Department has been working diligently to develop commercial traffic that might possibly benefit citizens of Bridgeport widely? So, today we sell it to the CAA who can better develop or allocate commercial traffic? But we are limited in a recovery to the amount we have expended, gross or net? Sounds like net of around $500,000 annually plus taking on debt which suggests annual principal and interest, and is that what a $10 Million limit comes from?
But if/when Sikorski Airport is sold, how/where do we memorialize within our boundaries the hero-immigrant who applied his intelligence and insight to the development of the helicopter? Can we see a listing of repayments that leaves the City without that property, free of Department staffing, without any debt or grant payments in the future, and a lump sum of capital that will be used in the next year budget? Nice to know? Will employees working for the City Council provide more value to taxpayers in coming years than those working for the Airport where revenues for years have fallen below expenses but persisted? Time will tell.