A Letter to the Bradley Community: Loyalty Matters – Come Home to Bradley
The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) is proud of the recent route development successes at Bradley International Airport. At a time when similarly sized airports have been experiencing major route and passenger reductions, Bradley just completed its fourth consecutive year of year-over-year passenger growth. We reestablished transatlantic service (Dublin via Aer Lingus, Edinburgh via Norwegian) and West Coast service (Los Angeles via American, San Francisco via United) at the airport. We also recently added Spirit Airlines, our first ultra-low cost carrier at Bradley, and we added a variety of other major domestic routes. These new services are not only major additions to the menu of options we provide to our travelers, but they also boost the airport’s already significant economic contribution to the region. However, the CAA would like to stress to regional travelers that the longevity of these services is very much in their hands.
As quickly as these new services have been negotiated, they can just as easily disappear without the proper support. Route development is a classic “chicken or the egg” dilemma. An airport needs passenger volume to convince airlines to start new routes, and passengers need the airport to offer the routes they want before they use that particular airport. Furthermore, if an existing route is not being adequately utilized, an airline can quickly decide to pull the service. Airports are not only competing with other regional airports for passengers, but they are also competing with airports across the country for the allocation of limited airline aircraft resources. If an airline cannot fill enough seats on a flight, or if they have to discount fares to such a degree that the route profitability suffers, the airline will not hesitate to pull the service and place that aircraft elsewhere.
This dilemma highlights the importance of our regional travelers maintaining loyalty to Bradley. Whether they are fare shopping, refusing to use connecting service, or seeking a larger airport with more secondary options if their primary flight cancels, travelers can undercut our route development efforts when they choose their airport on a per-case basis.
We are thankful for the dedicated travelers who use Bradley on a regular basis, but we acknowledge that there are some passengers who may be tempted to use another airport in one of the surrounding states. There are two important issues that we ask those travelers to take into account when choosing their airport – convenience (short-term gain) and future service development (long-term gain).
Time and peace of mind may not have a quantifiable value, but they are surely valuable. The time that it took you to drive to JFK was costly. The anxiety you felt trying to find parking and navigating security at Logan was equally burdensome. The ease of using Bradley can be occasionally overlooked, but it should never be taken for granted. The convenience and customer-friendly facilities at Bradley help separate us from all area competitors, and the numerous facilities and concessions enhancements that we have introduced over the recent few years only help to underscore these benefits.
Most importantly, using Bradley regularly will help us generate the passenger numbers that we need to convince airlines to sustain our services. We will not be able to convince airlines to add additional flights to key destinations if we cannot demonstrate that passengers are using our current routes. We will not be able to generate competition between the airlines and help drive down fare levels over the long-term if passengers decide that they would rather chase an immediate $25 savings at another airport. And we will never get the direct nonstop service to the destination you seek tomorrow if you are unwilling to use one of our existing, connecting services today. Service development relies on passenger loyalty. Without it, any route development successes at Bradley will be short-lived and any future growth will be stunted.
We are proud that we have been able to introduce so many new services in the brief history of the CAA, and we are already working hard on bringing even more routes to our travelers at Bradley. But we need your help. When you are booking your travel plans, please prioritize support of your local airport. Loyalty matters – come home to Bradley.
Kevin A. Dillon, A.A.E
Connecticut Airport Authority
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