Oct. 14—WINDSOR LOCKS — Anyone who has flown out of Bradley International Airport since April has likely noticed the flurry of construction on the airplane side of the terminal, opposite the Sheraton Hotel.
Those staying at the hotel have had a prime view of the project where the Connecticut Airport Authority is building a standalone inline baggage screening space. Construction of the $151 million facility started in April and is expected to be completed sometime in the fall of 2025.
Checked luggage is now screened by large machines adjacent to the ticket counters for the airlines that fly out of Bradley. Travelers get their boarding passes, have their suitcases weighed, and then take them to the station where U.S. Transportation Security Administration officers feed the luggage into the large Computer Tomography X-ray machines for screening.
Once construction of the new screening building is completed, passengers will simply hand their checked bags to the ticketing agent who will tag and place them on a conveyer belt for routing through the new facility. That will involve the use of over one mile of conveyer belt systems, airport officials say.
Moving the security screening functions from what is essentially the airport's lobby areas has multiple benefits, they add. They primary benefit is creating more usable space at Bradley.
"Both this (construction of the freestanding baggage facility) and the vertical circulation projects are done to improve passenger flow, maximize current terminal use, and allow for additional growth," said Alisa Sisic, airport authority spokeswoman.
By moving the baggage function from the front of the terminal building to the air side, Sisic said, it allows for the future construction of new gates and concession space. The relocations will result in a net increase of two new boarding gates at the airport, she said.
The airport's vertical circulation project will expand the terminal by an additional 22,000 square feet to accommodate new elevators and escalators at both ends of the building entrance. The additions will provide passenger egress points directly at the end of each concourse, rather than sending passengers through a single, centrally located exit lane.
The circulation project will also allow for a significant expansion of the existing TSA security checkpoint lines area.
Sisic said Authority officials are uncertain how many other airports have stand alone baggage security facilities. But she said Bradley "is one of the few medium-sized airports that processes baggage screening the way we currently do it."
Michael Boyd, president of a Colorado-based aviation consulting firm, said "making it easier for passengers to get around in airports" is a current mantra for the commercial travel business right now.
"The airport is right in the middle of a real growth area with people moving out of New York City and Boston," Boyd said. "This is a wise move because that airport is a real treasure."
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