Bradley greets European flight

July 5, 2007

Travelers spoke of saving time by flying into Connecticut rather than Boston or New York.

WINDSOR LOCKS - Passengers aboard the inaugural flight from Amsterdam to Bradley International Airport were greeted by television cameras, reporters and goody bags handed out by Connecticut and Massachusetts tourism officials as they disembarked yesterday afternoon.

After a quick kiss from his girlfriend, Paul van Gogh, of Utrecht, Netherlands, was surrounded by reporters and cameras. He said the flight into Bradley "saves me so much time, instead of 13 to 14 hours of travel, it's 10, max."

Van Gogh said he travels here almost every month, so "this will be my standard flight."

Northwest Airlines began once-daily direct service between Bradley and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on Sunday.

As he waited for son Egil Dennerline to emerge from customs, Jerry Dennerline, of Northampton, said the new flight "is a good deal for us" because it eliminates the long trip from international airports in Boston or New York.

Egil Dennerline, who lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, said the flight is "quicker and cheaper than (flying to) New York," and he will take it again "if the price stays the same."

David H. Mayer, vice president of marketing for Kaman Corp., in Bloomfield, Conn., returned on the flight after going to a convention in Gothenberg, Sweden.

The direct flight from Bradley to Europe will "save money, time. It's a big advantage," Mayer said.

It will also enable the corporation to "bring folks into Connecticut (from Europe) more frequently rather than flying into New York. It certainly could help build relationships, and that's what we're looking for."

While handing out bags of gifts to arriving passengers, Gregory B. Chiecko, chairman of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, said, "To have inbound tourism direct from Amsterdam to the Pioneer Valley is going to be a great thing."

Flight 97 from Schiphol arrived at Bradley with 108 passengers, but it had been fully booked for 150 before Northwest moved passengers flying to Detroit onto a direct flight with empty seats, according to Gordon K. Humphery, regional director of customer service for Northwest.

"This time of year, international service is usually full," he said.

The flight from Amsterdam did not have a contingent of officials from Dutch tourism or economic development organizations. Humphery said Schiphol Airport and Dutch tourism officials came weeks ago to scope out this region.

Massachusetts also sent a representative from the state Office of Travel and Tourism, Chiecko said.

Connecticut groups greeting passengers included the Greater Hartford Convention & Visitors Bureau, the state Commission on Culture & Tourism, and all five tourism regions in the state.

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