Kevin Dillon: Refocusing the CAA’s Business Development Efforts

When the CAA was originally formed, the Governor and state legislature made it clear that the authority’s priorities must stretch beyond the day-to-day operations of its airports. One of the primary reasons that the CAA was created was to help spur additional economic development at Bradley and our five GA airports. Understanding the role that airports can have in facilitating economic development, including the positive spin-off effects that can lead to further employment and spending outside of airport property in nearby towns, the Governor and legislature established the CAA to focus on maximizing the potential of these airports. Unrestrained by many of the state-based, bureaucratic obstacles to development, the CAA was given the tools to act entrepreneurially and aggressively in seeking new development opportunities.

As a result of this renewed focus and freedom, we have been able to accomplish a great deal together over the past few years. At Bradley, new concessions and amenities, such as the Escape Lounge, duty-free shop, and various new restaurants, have helped grow new jobs in the terminal. New hangar development deals with TAC Air and Signature Flight Support have helped support job growth in the regional construction industry and added new activity to the airport. And the newly completed cargo development has created many jobs directly on-airport and taken our airport’s cargo operations to a new level. The benefits of these developments extend beyond their direct sales, as each deal drives additional business for the company’s vendors, and each new hire spends their earnings back into the economy through their purchases and consumption.

We have also been able to take advantage of many new opportunities at all of the general aviation airports. At Waterbury-Oxford Airport, significant deals with Atlantic Aviation and PJ Aero have solidified the airport’s standing as an attractive destination for corporate travel. Hartford Jet Center has helped transform the level of services available at Hartford-Brainard Airport, and the highly regarded Flying Monkey Grill brings in business from all over the Greater Hartford area. We are also moving forward with a new development with Lanmar Aviation, and the Beacon Bar and Grill continues to feed happy customers at Groton-New London Airport. Even our smallest airports have seen impressive progress, with a new fixed-base operator, Windham Air Services, at Windham Airport, and a growing skydive business, Skydive Danielson, and other t-hangar development at Danielson Airport.

Despite these successes, we feel that there is still room in the market for further growth. To help build off our past success and take our business development efforts to the next step, we undertook a recruitment process for a new Senior Manager of Business Development. After a strong response, we were pleased to recently welcome Teddy Minch to the CAA to help us bring a fresh approach towards our economic development mission. Teddy joins us from KPMG, where he served as a Vice President in the Infrastructure Advisory group. While at KPMG, Teddy played an instrumental role in growing the practice’s airport business from the ground up. Upon arriving there, the practice did not boast any airport clients. By the time he left, the practice had several active US and international airport development engagements. This experience will be key as we continue our efforts to promote economic development at our airports.

Indeed, we still have plenty of room to grow at Bradley and throughout the GA airport system. At Bradley alone, we have nearly 370 acres of developable land, and there are approximately 130 acres of available parcels throughout the GA system. We will be taking an aggressive stance towards developing this land, with a particular emphasis on identifying new cargo, as well as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) opportunities. We will also be investigating the feasibility for a new travel service plaza at Bradley, and a potential solar energy development at Windham Airport. We are also anticipating the introduction of a couple of new concessions at Bradley in the near-term. These are just a few of the items on the horizon, and we look forward to exploring new possibilities to maximize all of our airports.

If you are interested in partnering with the CAA and developing at any of our airports, please feel free to reach out to Teddy Minch at 860-254-5831 or tminch@ctairports.org