The city’s municipal airport, commercial passenger service grounded for 25 years, is receiving a modernization boost from the Connecticut Airport Authority as New Haven’s Tweed airport recently initiated direct flights to Florida.
Sikorsky Memorial Airport is a complex study. The city-owned airport is physically located in the Lordship area of Stratford. For decades the issue was runway expansion, opposed by the town, to attract commercial carriers. Aviation technology has now brought runway length in line for flights to southern destinations.
Bridgeport also pays no taxes to Stratford as long as the airport doesn’t make money. It actually loses money.
Sikorsky is viewed as a potential economic windfall close to Fairfield County travelers who largely use New York airports including Westchester County, just across the Connecticut line.
News release from Connecticut Airport Authority:
The City of Bridgeport and the Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) today announced the launch of next steps of capital development and an expanded partnership to maximize the potential of Sikorsky Memorial Airport as a state transportation resource. Following a recent $7 million investment by the State Bond Commission, to be primarily used for pavement rehabilitation on Runway 11-29, construction will soon begin to undertake necessary capital projects that allow for the development of commercial flights at Sikorsky Airport. The City of Bridgeport and the CAA also announced ongoing discussions regarding an expanded partnership to develop and operate the airport.
“This is an exciting moment for the City of Bridgeport and the Connecticut Airport Authority,” said Governor Lamont. “The easier it is for travelers to reach our state, the stronger it makes our state’s economy and contributes to tourism. These steps are necessary to ensure the growth at Sikorsky is sustainable and that we are maximizing this transportation asset to the fullest extent possible.”
“The ongoing partnership of federal, state, and local officials in working to bring commercial flights to Southwest Connecticut has been a model of cooperation,” said Congressman Himes. “There are exciting things happening in and around the Greater Bridgeport area, and the easier we make it for people to get to and travel around the city, the more businesses, visitors, and investments we’re going to see.”
“We look forward to working with the CAA to maximize the potential at Sikorsky. The increase in activity and interest brings positive attention to Bridgeport as a local and regional transportation hub providing micro mobility options, bus, rail, boats, and now air,” stated Mayor Ganim. “There is sure to be a positive economic impact with more professionals seeking alternative options at Sikorsky for travel.”
The City and the CAA have long viewed Sikorsky Airport as a key transportation facility, and one that is poised to capitalize on a very large market for commercial service. Sikorsky Airport’s catchment area, within which many people currently use New York airports, is complementary to that of Bradley International Airport and offers the opportunity to keep that economic activity within Connecticut.
“Sikorsky Airport is an important component of the state’s transportation system, and these initial projects are a key step towards reaching the airport’s full potential,” said CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon. “Commercial service is within reach at Sikorsky Airport, and the CAA is pleased to continue coordinating with the City of Bridgeport to ensure that the state has the most efficient, cohesive aviation system possible.”
“The CAA plays an important role in organizing the development of airports across the state, and this important partnership will help generate even more economic activity for the state,” said CAA Board Chair Tony Sheridan. “Each new commercial service flight in the state brings visitors from across the country and world closer to our state’s businesses and tourist attractions.”
The CAA has provided management services to Sikorsky Airport at the City’s request in years past, and the City and CAA are now exploring new methods of further enhancing coordination between two of the state’s commercial service airports. The parties are discussing the possibility of the CAA providing advisory services or even entering into a lease agreement and directly investing into the facility to ensure that the City has the resources necessary to capitalize on available state and federal funds.
About the Connecticut Airport Authority
The CAA was established in 2011 to develop, improve, and operate Bradley International Airport and the state’s five general aviation airports (Danielson, Groton-New London, Hartford-Brainard, Waterbury-Oxford, and Windham). The CAA Board consists of 11 members with a broad spectrum of experience in aviation-related and other industries, as well as government. The goal of the CAA is to make Connecticut’s airports more attractive to new airlines, bring in new routes, and support Connecticut’s overall economic development and growth strategy.