Bridgeport Airport Commission Meeting Canceled Amid Stratford Interest in Sikorsky

April 6, 2022

Apr. 6—STRATFORD — Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick was ready Tuesday for a chance to present her pitch for the town's proposal to purchase Sikorsky Memorial Airport to the commission that manages it. But she never got the chance.

The meeting was canceled shortly before its scheduled start time due to a lack of quorum, according to airport manager Michelle Muoio.

"I have thoughts to share with the commission on how we should go forward and it would be a public RFP (request for proposal) process," Hoydick said shortly after the cancellation. "And that I think it's important to be as transparent as possible with, not just the citizens of Bridgeport, but the residents of Stratford about the process going forward."

Hoydick and state Sen. Kevin Kelly, R- Stratford, on March 18 sent a letter to Gov. Ned Lamont, Bridgeport Mayor Joe Ganim, Bridgeport City Council President Aidee Nieves and the airport commission declaring the town's interest in purchasing the airport.

The commission's agenda for Tuesday's meeting included an item for a "discussion/vote" on the sale of the airport. While not specifically on the agenda, a discussion of Stratford's interest could have happened but likely would have been in a private executive session, Hoydick said. It would have been Stratford's first opportunity to explain its interest and answer any questions the commission might have.

Hoydick said she has not received information on a date or time for the meeting to be rescheduled.

"I just think it's important that it's a public process," Hoydick said. "I think that we should go out to RFP for all those that are interested in purchasing or leasing the airport, as we're doing with the leases for the hangars. I think that everything can be disclosed and questions can be asked and answered in public and I hope we move forward in that vein."

The commission recently decided to seek other proposals for the services now rendered by Atlantic Aviation, the firm that has operated hangars at Sikorsky for over three decades after concerns were raised by a competitor of a plan to extend Atlantic's contract.

Stratford is seeking local control of the airport, which lies within its borders in the Lordship neighborhood. Hoydick and other Stratford officials have voiced concern that safety agreements and contractual measures in place with Bridgeport could go away should the Connecticut Airport Authority take over the property.

"Our aim is to develop the Sikorsky Memorial Airport in a manner that is consistent with the values and character of the surrounding community, and protects the critical environmental assets that surround the airport," Hoydick's letter said.

Hoydick said Stratford's plan is to purchase the airport and lease it to an operator. The town intends to model a possible revitalization of the airport similarly to Tweed Airport in New Haven.

The commission previously tabled a vote on CAA's bid to purchase the airport for $10 million at the last meeting, which was held shortly after Hoydick shared the town's interest in purchasing the property. CAA put forward a "term sheet" — or document outlining the general terms of a purchase contract — to the commission in February.

CAA operates six state-owned airports, including Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. The authority would move to bring commercial flights back to Sikorsky should it be chosen to purchase the property. The airport has not hosted commercial passenger flights in over 20 years. At least one airline, Breeze Airways, has demonstrated interest in Sikorsky in the past.

Ganim previously said he is open to hearing Hoydick's proposal, but thinks the CAA is "the only real opportunity" for the airport.

Muoio could not be immediately reached for comment.

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