Mar. 2—Construction of a new facility at Bradley International Airport to modernize the system used to handle checked baggage is expected to get underway soon, according to the executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority.
Kevin Dillon said that thanks in part to a $5 million grant from the federal government, construction of an in-line bag screening building at the Windsor Locks airport will get underway "within the next couple of months." CAA officials found out Monday that Bradley International was one of 99 airports in 47 states and two U.S. territories that will share nearly $1 billion worth of grant money from the Federal Aviation Administration.
According to FAA officials, the grant aims to improve the overall experience of air travel across the country by expediting baggage check-ins and pickups, creating larger security checkpoints, improving ground transportation and upgrading aging air traffic control towers.
Dillon said adding a new in-line bag screening building "will serve as a major customer service enhancement for passengers, and it will open up significant space for additional growth of airline routes and services." The new baggage handling facility is expected to be operational by October 2025.
Once the new baggage facility is complete, it will allow officials at Bradley to remove large explosive-detection machines that sit next to ticketing areas in the airport's lobby areas.
Once the explosive-detection machines are removed from the ticketing areas, CAA officials expect to use the space to create room for additional ticket counters for the airport's existing airlines as well as for new airlines that may serve Bradley in the future.
Bradley, New England's second busiest airport after Boston Logan International, is one of seven New England airports awarded money through the competitive grant process. The other six airports in the region receiving funds are in Burlington, Vt., Portsmouth and Manchester, N.H., and three in Maine.
"Americans deserve the best airports in the world, and with demand for air travel surging back, this funding to improve the passenger experience comes at the right time," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg.
Michael Boyd, president of a Colorado-based aviation consulting firm, said the modernization of the baggage handling system is critical if Bradley is to protect its reputation with travelers going forward."
"Most airports had this in place 10 years ago," Boyd said. "Bradley is way behind the curve on this."
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