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Bradley And Beyond: New Chairman Discusses Importance Of Connecticut's Airports

Jul 6, 2018

Tony Sheridan was just appointed to serve as chairman of the Connecticut Airport Authority. 

The body, which was established in 2011 to operate and develop Bradley International Airport and the state’s five general aviation airports is led by an 11 member volunteer board of directors. In addition to his new role, Sheridan is also the president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut.

Sheridan recently spoke on Connecticut Public Radio's Morning Edition.

INTERVIEW HIGHLIGHTS

The airport authority here in Connecticut is still a pretty new government entity. Explain what its role is.

Governor Malloy decided to move the Airport Authority out of the Department of Transportation and create an authority with a decision-making process that does not have to go through the state legislative process.

The governor and the state legislature makes the appointment to the authority so that it’s not entirely separate from the political process.

Earlier this year, Bradley officials recommended a huge expansion of the airport over the next couple of decades, with the possible addition of millions of additional passengers. Why expand Bradley?

Why? Because airports in Connecticut are very much part of our overall transportation network and we have to have an efficient, modern airport to attract passengers and airlines. Bradley is one of the largest airports in New England, it’s critically important.

It’s also important for transatlantic flights. Aer Lingus, of course, is coming in and out of Bradley on a daily basis right now. That’s bringing in passengers through Connecticut, rather than Boston or New York so it has a significant economic impact.

It needs to be modernized, it needs to be updated and as I’ve said, that’s ongoing.

The Airport Authority also works with smaller, regional airports. Can you talk about the services they offer to the state?

Well, as the business climate improves, and it has significantly -- particularly in eastern Connecticut -- there’s more and more private flights in and out.

In fact, Groton and New London have significant amounts of private flights in and out on a daily basis. Electric Boat flies their plane out of there. Dominion Resources flies their plane out of there, and several others. So these four airports are very important.

The more private transportation that takes place, the less traffic on the roads. Of course, it’s an expensive way to travel, but airports are -- like I said earlier on -- they’re part of our transportation network and we need to have the most up-to-date airports possible to accommodate the growth and traffic.