Bradley International Airport (IATA: BDL, ICAO: KBDL, FAA LID: BDL) is a civil/military airport in Windsor Locks, Connecticut, in Hartford County, Connecticut. Owned and operated by the Connecticut Airport Authority, it is the second-largest airport in New England.
The airport is about halfway between Hartford and Springfield. It is Connecticut's busiest commercial airport and the second-busiest airport in New England after Boston's Logan International Airport, with approximately 6.4 million total passengers in 2017. The four largest carriers at Bradley International Airport are Southwest, Delta, JetBlue, and American with market shares of 29%, 19%, 15%, and 14%, respectively. As a dual-use military facility with the U.S. Air Force, the airport is also home to the 103d Airlift Wing (103 AW) of the Connecticut Air National Guard.
In 2015, Bradley was the 54th busiest airport in the United States by number of passengers enplaned. Bradley was originally branded as the "Gateway to New England" and is home to the New England Air Museum, and North America's only Flight Simulation conference, FlightSimCon. In 2016, Bradley International launched its new brand, "Love The Journey."
It is included in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems for 2017–2021, in which it is categorized as a medium-hub primary commercial service facility.
Bradley has its origins in the 1940 acquisition of 1,700 acres (690 ha) of land in Windsor Locks by the State of Connecticut. In 1941, this land was turned over to the U.S. Army, as the country began its preparations for the impending war.
The airfield was named after 24-year-old Lt. Eugene M. Bradley of Antlers, Oklahoma, assigned to the 64th Pursuit Squadron, who died when his P-40 crashed during a dogfight training drill on August 21, 1941.
The airfield began civil use in 1947 as Bradley International Airport. Its first commercial flight was Eastern Air Lines Flight 624. International cargo operations at the airport also began that year. Bradley eventually replaced the older, smaller Hartford–Brainard Airport as Hartford's primary airport.
In 1948, the federal government deeded the Airport to the State of Connecticut for public and commercial use.
In 1950, Bradley International Airport exceeded the 100,000-passenger mark, handling 108,348 passengers. In 1952, the Murphy Terminal opened. Later dubbed Terminal B, the terminal was the oldest passenger terminal in the US when it closed in 2010.
The April 1957 OAG shows 39 weekday departures: 14 American, 14 Eastern, 9 United, and 2 Northeast. Nonstops never reached west of Chicago or south of Washington until Eastern and Northeast began service to Miami in 1967. Nonstops to Los Angeles and Atlanta started in 1968.
In 1960, Bradley handled 500,238 passengers.
In 1971, the Murphy Terminal was expanded with an International Arrivals wing. This was followed by the installation of Instrument Landing Systems on two runways in 1977.
In 1976, an experimental monorail was completed to link the terminal to a parking lot seven-tenths of a mile away. The "people mover" cost US$4 million and was anticipated to cost $250 thousand annually to operate. Due to the high anticipated operating cost, the monorail was never put in service and was dismantled in 1984 to make room for a new terminal building. The retired vehicles from the system are now on display at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT.
In 1979, the "Windsor Locks" tornado ripped through the eastern portions of the airport. The New England Air Museum sustained some of the worst damage. It reopened in 1981. In 1986, new Terminal A and Bradley Sheraton Hotel were completed. The Roncari cargo terminal was also constructed.
In 2001, construction began on a new parking garage. When completed, the garage could not immediately be used. The September 11, 2001 attacks led to regulations requiring parking structures to be set back farther from the tarmac. For several weeks after opening, every vehicle had to be individually inspected, severely reducing its value. Bradley eventually received a waiver for normal operation of the garage from the Department of Homeland Security.
2001 also saw the commencement of the Terminal Improvement Project to expand Terminal A with a new concourse, construct a new International Arrivals Building and centralize passenger screening. The airport expansion was part of a larger project to enhance the reputation of the Hartford metropolitan area as a destination for business and vacation travel. The new East Concourse, designed by HNTB, opened in September 2002.
In December 2002, a new International Arrivals Building opened west of Terminal B. This structure houses the Federal Inspection Station and has one jetway for deboarding aircraft. Two government agencies support the facility; U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The FIS Terminal can process more than 300 passengers per hour from aircraft as large as a Boeing 747. This facility cost approximately $7.7 million, which included the building and site work, funded through the Bradley Improvement Fund. Currently the International Arrivals Building is utilized by Delta Air Lines and Frontier Airlines (Apple Vacations) for their seasonal service to Cancun, Mexico and Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. All international arrivals except for those from airports with customs preclearance are processed through the IAB. International departures will be handled from the existing terminal complex.
In July 2007, Northwest Airlines began nonstop service from Bradley to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport; the airline normally flew a Boeing 757-200 but more than once substituted for a slightly larger 757-300. It was Bradley's only overseas flight until September 2016 when Aer Lingus started new service from Bradley International to Dublin.
On October 2–3, 2007, the Airbus A380 visited Bradley on its world tour, stopping in Hartford to showcase the aircraft to Connecticut workers for Pratt & Whitney and Hamilton Sundstrand, both divisions of United Technologies, which helped build the GP7000 TurboFan engines, which is an option to power the aircraft. Bradley Airport is one of only 68 airports worldwide large enough to accommodate the A380. No carriers provide regular A380 service to Bradley, but the airport occasionally is a diversion airfield for JFK-bound A380s.
On October 18, 2007, Bradley International Airport was named one of the top five small airports in the North American Airport Satisfaction Study by J. D. Power and Associates.
On October 7, 2008, Embraer, an aerospace company based in Brazil, selected Bradley as its service center for the Northeastern United States. An $11 million project was begun with support from teams of the Connecticut Department of Transportation and Connecticut's Economic and Community Development. The center is intended to be a full maintenance and repair facility for its line of business jets and is expected to employ up to 60 aircraft technicians. The facility was temporarily closed ten months after opening due to economic conditions, reopening on February 28, 2011.
On June 22, 2012, the Connecticut Airport Authority board approved the hiring of Kevin A. Dillon as the Executive Director for the Connecticut Airport Authority, including Bradley International Airport. Executive Director Dillon plans to continue the development of airport facilities, as well as the establishment of new routes.
On October 21, 2015, Bradley announced renewed transatlantic service, partnering with Aer Lingus to bring daily flights between Bradley and Dublin. Service to Dublin began on September 28, 2016.
Norwegian Air Shuttle flew the airport's second transatlantic European flight. The first flight was on June 17, 2017 to Edinburgh in the UK. On January 15, 2018 the airline announced it would end service from Bradley to Scotland, with the last flight leaving March 25, 2018.
On January 25, 2017, Spirit Airlines announced new daily nonstop service to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale along with 4 times weekly seasonal service to Myrtle Beach. The first flight to Orlando was on April 27, and service to Fort Lauderdale started on June 16. The same day, the company also announced seasonal nonstop service to Fort Myers and Tampa, Florida, which began on November 9, 2017.
Bradley International Airport covers 2,432 acres (984 ha) at an elevation of 173 feet (53 m). It has three asphalt runways: 6/24 is 9,510 by 200 feet (2,899 x 61 m); 15/33 is 6,847 by 150 feet (2,087 x 46 m); 1/19 is 4,268 by 100 feet (1,301 x 30 m).
In the year ending June 30, 2011 the airport had 107,404 aircraft operations, averaging 294 per day: 52% airline, 27% air taxi, 17% general aviation and 3% military. 56 aircraft were then based at this airport: 52% jet, 30% military, 12% multi-engine, 4% helicopter and 2% single-engine.
Terminal B, the 1952 Murphy Terminal, was closed to passenger use on April 15, 2010 and had two concourses. The old terminal continued to host the Bradley offices of the Connecticut State Police and was used for storage until its demolition in late 2015 and into early 2016. It will be replaced with a new 19 gate terminal. (see below)
Terminal A has two concourses. The East Concourse (Gates 1-12) hosts Aer Lingus, Air Canada, Delta, JetBlue and Southwest. while the West Concourse (Gates 20-30) hosts American, OneJet, Spirit and United.
All international arrivals (except flights with customs preclearance) are handled at the International Arrivals Building, located to the west of Terminal A. This building was formerly used by Northwest Airlines between 2007 and 2009 when they offered non-stop flights from Bradley to Amsterdam. Today Delta is the sole operator using the IAB. In 2017, the IAB was renamed to Terminal B until the brand new 19-gate Terminal B is built.
The third floor of terminal A has the administrative offices of the Connecticut Airport Authority.
|Air Canada Express||Montréal–Trudeau, Toronto–Pearson|||
|American Airlines||Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia
|American Eagle||Charlotte, Chicago–O'Hare, Philadelphia, Washington–National|||
|Delta Air Lines||Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis/St. Paul
|Delta Connection||Cincinnati, Cleveland, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Raleigh/Durham
Seasonal: Detroit, Orlando
|JetBlue Airways||Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, San Juan, Tampa, Washington–National, West Palm Beach
Seasonal: Fort Myers
|Southwest Airlines||Baltimore, Chicago–Midway, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, St. Louis (begins August 7, 2018), Tampa
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Las Vegas, West Palm Beach
|Spirit Airlines||Fort Lauderdale, Orlando
Seasonal: Fort Myers, Myrtle Beach, Tampa
|United Airlines||Chicago–O'Hare, Denver, Newark, Washington–Dulles
Seasonal: San Francisco
|United Express||Chicago–O'Hare, Newark, Washington–Dulles
|Domestic destinations map|
|International Destinations map|
|DHL Aviation||Cincinnati, New York–JFK, Rochester (NY)|
|FedEx Express||Bridgeport, Indianapolis, Manchester (NH), Memphis, Newark, Portland (ME), Poughkeepsie (NY)
Seasonal: Buffalo, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Harrisburg, Los Angeles, Newburgh, Philadelphia
|UPS Airlines||Albany, Boston, Chicago/Rockford, Louisville, Newark, Ontario, Philadelphia, Providence, Syracuse
Seasonal: Buffalo, Columbia, Columbus–Rickenbacker, Dallas/Fort Worth, Des Moines, Greenville/Spartanburg, Harrisburg, Manchester (NH), New York–JFK, Pittsburgh, Portland (OR)
In addition to the regular cargo services described above, Bradley is occasionally visited by Antonov An-124 aircraft operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines, and Antonov Airlines, transporting heavy cargo, such as Sikorsky helicopters or Pratt & Whitney engines internationally.
|Year||Enplaned Passengers||% Change||Aircraft Movements||% Change|
|3||Charlotte, North Carolina||260,260||American|
|4||Orlando, Florida||257,050||Delta, JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit|
|5||Chicago–O'Hare, Illinois||228,360||American, United|
|6||Washington–National, D.C.||165,540||American, JetBlue|
|8||Fort Lauderdale, Florida||158,060||JetBlue, Southwest, Spirit|
|9||Tampa, Florida||141,700||JetBlue, Southwest|
|2||Delta Air Lines||1,065,000||17.44%|
On July 3, 2012 the Connecticut Department of Transportation released an Environmental Assessment and Environmental Impact Evaluation, detailing a proposal to replace the now-vacant Terminal B with updates and facilities intended to improve access and ease of use for Bradley travelers. The replacement proposal calls for:
The proposal calls for a three-phase construction program:
Actual completion dates could vary due to funding and demand.
Amtrak trains serve both the nearby Windsor Locks and Windsor stations. The Hartford Line, which is expected to begin service in May 2018, will increase the speed, frequency and reliability of trains along the corridor. Presently, 12 trains serve Windsor Locks station daily. This is expected to increase to 24 in 2018 and 50 by 2020. Plans call for every train at Windsor Locks Station to be met by a shuttle bus connection directly to and from the terminal. Officials have discussed plans to construct a fixed rail link to the airport.
Connecticut Transit route 34 provides local service connecting Bradley with Windsor and Hartford. Route 30 (the "Bradley Flyer") provides express service to downtown Hartford.
Bradley has also been identified as one of the last remaining tracts of grassland in Connecticut suitable for a few endangered species of birds, including the upland sandpiper, the horned lark, and the grasshopper sparrow.
In 2017, Bradley Airport was named 5th best airport in the United States by Condé Nast Traveler's Reader's Choice Awards. Bradley scored well with readers in the categories of on-site parking, availability of charging stations and free Wi-Fi, decent restaurant options, and overall relaxed atmosphere.
Bradley's fatal accident occurred during a simulated aerial dogfight with Frank Mears, commander of the 64th Pursuit Squadron. The plane Bradley was flying spun out of control as he went into a sharp turn at about 5,000 feet. Stunned witnesses saw the plane spiral slowly into a grove of trees. Soon a column of smoke arose. They theorize that the young pilot blacked out from the gravitational forces felt during such a sharp aerial turn.