An Uplifting Opportunity for the Region
If one were to start compiling a list of this region’s assets, from the standpoint of economic development, there are some obvious choices for inclusion.
These would be quality of life, cost of living, the skilled workforce, the many institutions of higher learning, the many fine hospitals, great infrastructure, attractive places to live … the list goes on.
And it would have to go for a while before most people would probably get to writing down Bradley International Airport, although it shouldn’t be that way.
Ask anyone who does a lot of travel for their business — and that’s most people — and they’ll tell you that having an international airport that close and that convenient is a huge asset. Indeed, the ability to fly people and cargo in and out of Windsor Locks can be — and has been — a competitive edge for people in many business sectors.
But it’s an edge with limitations — important limitations that move the airport well down most people’s lists of key assets for the business community. Limitations best summed up by that phrase ‘you can’t get there from here,’ or a variation of it.
While you can get to a lot of places from Bradley, you can’t get to many others, or get to them easily, meaning without one or more additional stops along the way. That list includes most all cities in Europe — or it did, anyway.
That’s why the Aer Lingus flights due to start the end of next month are so important — for the airport, the airline, and especially the region as a whole. In short, the flights will make Bradley an asset with fewer limitations and an international airport in virtually every aspect of that word.
Those flights, scheduled to start Sept. 28, will make it possible get there from here, with ‘there’ meaning major cities, including Dublin, London, Paris, Rome, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Frankfurt, and many others. Travelers won’t be able to get to those places directly from Hartford, but they can get to them much more easily than they could in the past, when they would have to start their journey with a trip to Boston, New York, or New Jersey, or a flight to one of those cities.
Meanwhile, it will be that much easier for people in all those cities, and especially London, Dublin, and other cities in Ireland to get here.
What does all this mean? For starters, it means that people leaving on vacation to Europe could have it much easier than they did. It also means that Europeans looking to vacation in the U.S. might start in Hartford-Springfield, as opposed to somewhere else.
But what it really means is that this region has gained another important edge as it takes part in an extremely competitive contest for businesses and jobs. How big an edge can be debated, but any additional edge will be needed and appreciated.
And the team at Bradley and the Connecticut Aviation Authority have been providing other edges as well in recent months, including non-stop service to the West Coast (LAX), opening a gateway in that direction as well.
These gateways have the potential to move Bradley far up the list of important economic-development assets in this region. More importantly, though, they have the potential to make existing businesses more competitive and potential businesses more willing to give this region a hard look.
In all those respects, these new services, and especially the one to Europe, is a very uplifting development.