Aruba From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 128 posts, RR: 0 Posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2183 times:
Will BDR (Bridgeport, CT) ever become a commercial airport again? Because they used to be quite a busy airport for it's size. You could still see the Delta Connect sign on the top of the terminal building.
PanAm747 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 4242 posts, RR: 9 Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 2163 times:
Considering that it is only 57 miles driving-wise to LGA, and 71.4 miles to BDL, I don't think BDR has much of a chance. It is just too close to other big airports. Kind of like Visalia, CA (VIS) - within virtual spitting distance of Fresno (about 40 miles) and not too far from Bakersfield (less than 80 miles), air service at smaller "sandwiched" airports isn't essential.
One must also take into account the NIMBY factor and neighbors who live around the airport. However, it appears that both ends of the primary runway point over water, so perhaps someone more familiar with this aspect can describe the situation.
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Richierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4139 posts, RR: 6 Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1971 times:
As somebody who has flown to BDR a few times (non-commercially), I can say that the runways are mostly over marshy wetlands but there are a few NIMBY issues from the nearby residents. In other words, runway or airport expansion is not really going to happen, but as far as allowing commercial flights, it could technically happen using the given facilities.
BDR is a small airport and it never lets you forget it. The last commercial airline (perhaps only) was US Airways and it is like going back in time walking through the terminal. Looks like US made a hasty retreat! At most, the small, outdated facility could only handle a few regional flights to major hubs (like PHL, BOS, DCA, maybe CLT or ATL with a push). But with HVN struggling, I don't expect to see it any time soon.
As discussed, the real problem with BDR is its location. It is only 20 miles or so away from HVN and I think New Haven (Yale Univ., etc.) is a much more commercially viable destination than Bridgeport is. People who live south of Bridgeport (south like on I-95 - which is more like west but never mind) are more apt to travel to LGA or JFK as there are direct flights and would offer more frequency. People who live in Southern Connecticut (near Bridgeport, New Haven, as far north as Waterbury) are more likely to choose either the NYC airports, HPN, or BDL, the latter being only 90 minutes drive from Bridgeport. I'd say that LGA/JFK is about the same driving distance from Bridgeport as BDL is but I'm guessing that most people would prefer to drive to Hartford rather than deal with New York traffic. BDL, of course, has many direct flights to Fla. and the major hub airports as well as a good LCC presence (WN).
To sum it up, I don't think we'll see BDR gain a viable commercial carrier over the next decade, if not ever.
BN727flyr From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 85 posts, RR: 0 Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 1908 times:
IMHO, there are plenty of potential customers who live between, say, Milford and Norwalk who would use BDR to get to BOS, PHL, or the NYC or D.C. area airports and would be happy to use an airport that is less crowded/easier to get through than, say LGA or JFK. So I think there's sufficient market potential in the immediate area.
Having said that,
Quoting Richierich (Reply 2): BDR is a small airport and it never lets you forget it.
I believe that this is the key point. BDR's runways are short (both less than a mile in length) and at least one of them is in a state of disrepair. There are restrictions on air carrier operations, per FAA NOTAMs. There is an ILS but it is on one of the runways that has some restrictions. I haven't seen the terminal facilities at BDR in a long time, but I'm imagining them to be in less-than-operational condition as well (someone correct me if I'm mistaken about that).
Putting aside the valid argument about the NIMBYs, it appears that it would take a significant investment on both the landside and the airside to bring BDR up to satisfactory air-carrier handling status. In theory, it might make a good reliever airport for SW CT... but, again, not without serious investment. So I don't see BDR's future any brighter than it is today.
Richierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4139 posts, RR: 6 Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 5 hours ago) and read 1871 times:
Quoting BN727flyr (Reply 3): IMHO, there are plenty of potential customers who live between, say, Milford and Norwalk who would use BDR to get to BOS, PHL, or the NYC or D.C. area airports and would be happy to use an airport that is less crowded/easier to get through than, say LGA or JFK. So I think there's sufficient market potential in the immediate area.
That's a tough one to say. People who want to get to BOS, PHL, NYC or DC are either (a) taking Amtrak - there are a few NE Corridor trains that stop at Bridgeport, I looked it up - or (b) flying out of other airports. So basically you'd be looking at connecting passengers only and I guess there is not enough of them to warrant even a few daily B1900s.
Quoting BN727flyr (Reply 3): In theory, it might make a good reliever airport for SW CT... but, again, not without serious investment. So I don't see BDR's future any brighter than it is today.
This I do completely agree with.
For the record, my last visit to BDR was probably two years ago and I wouldn't call the terminal in "disrepair". In fact it was quite clean. There were obvious signs of the previous airline tenants but nothing that couldn't be sorted out if service were to reappear one day. Any "serious" investment would have to come from the city and not from the airlines though. As far as I know, Bridgeport is like many other large Connecticut cities: flat broke.
Fjnovak1 From United States of America, joined Apr 2000, 592 posts, RR: 2 Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 4 days 1 hour ago) and read 1787 times:
When I lived in CT (2004-06) I visited BDR and the US Airways colors were still up at the check in desk. My have even been a baggage cart laying around somewhere as well. It seriously looked like they had pulled up their stakes just months earlier, when in reality I think they had left around 2001, 2002 maybe. I could be wrong on that. I did not however see any Delta Connection signs, perhaps you are thinking of HVN, where Delta came in for a year or two? I flew in and out of HVN most recently in October of 2006, and Delta had just pulled out, but there signage (colors) for the most part were still intact. I wanted to go upstairs to their gate area (Gate 3) to see if the Delta podium and check in counter was still there but they had the ramp up to Gate 3/4 roped off. Its too bad it didn't work for Delta out of HVN. The people there told me their three flights to CVG usually went out full, but i guess they weren't making enough to justify it, or perhaps they felt it was just lifting their BDL-CVG traffic. Anyhow I cannot see BDR getting service again. I lived there, theres lots of people but like 1/2 the town seems to live in poverty. And CT is a really expensive place to be poor.
Richierich From United States of America, joined Nov 2000, 4139 posts, RR: 6 Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 1 week 3 days 12 hours ago) and read 1666 times:
Quoting Fjnovak1 (Reply 5): Anyhow I cannot see BDR getting service again. I lived there, theres lots of people but like 1/2 the town seems to live in poverty. And CT is a really expensive place to be poor.
I don't disagree with you there. But I think that is only half the story - literally. The other "half" of CT residents are very affluent and they have no problem driving an hour one way or the other to take a direct flight instead of taking a puddle-jumper to some hub (ahem, PHL). I have a friend who lives in Fairfield, and if she is traveling internationally, its basically JFK or EWR exclusively. I don't think she would consider HVN- or BDR-XXX and then connect to be a realistic option unless the price was 'right', and for a route like this to make any money for the airline, it wouldn't be. As for domestic travel, say Florida, she has a plethora of local options. HPN suddenly has several direct flights to Florida, obviously JFK/LGA/EWR do as well. BDL is within reach as well, and I'd throw in SWF too, although she may not be aware of this airport so much. In other words, she is unlikely to consider HVN (or BDR hypothetically) and a connection when the other choices are so much easier and better.
I'm all for expanding services. I'd love to see BDR have something again. I'd love to see HVN go beyond the three or four Dash8 flights it currently has. Heck, why not see OXC (Waterbury-Oxford) with service too? But I know these hopes are probably not going to happen or come to fruition, with the possible exception of a HVN resurgence. CT residents are smitten on BDL and half the state is within relatively easy reach of the NY airports (includining public transportation options along the coast and I-84 corridor).