Free Igor Sikorsky

April 19, 2022
AviationPros.com
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Many of you have gone through the grinder with your governing board when it comes to the commercial air service matter.

Politicians, board members, port authorities and local business groups are always keen on this conversation. Why don’t we have commercial flights? We need commercial flights. Imagine if we had commercial flights. We had commercial flights during the Carter Administration, so we should have them now too.

Maybe they just want to catch a flight to Orlando in town. Or maybe they simply covet fancy local cakes celebrating new routes.

But really it’s another reality slap to the face that no one outside of the industry really understands the industry.

Igor I. Sikorsky Memorial Airport is the latest victim of this terrible delusional circle. Bridgeport community leaders want commercial air service to make a rousing return to the airport 20 years after the last flight left and more than a decade after the airport demolished the old terminal that no longer served any purpose.

Never mind Bridgeport is 17 miles from Tweed-New Haven Airport, 28 miles from Westchester County Airport and less than 50 miles from both La Guardia and JFK.  And they apparently didn’t hear airlines are already nixing service to smaller communities because they don’t have pilots.

A study conducted last year by the Connecticut Center for Economic Excellence showed the airport could build two hangars for $1.8 million and house roughly 22 private jets. It also states building a temporary passenger terminal would cost $15 million, which let’s face it, wouldn’t be the grandiose facility to pull in all sorts of airlines the city thinks it will.

Meanwhile the city recently nixed a new lease with Atlantic Aviation because of concerns about a “lack of competitive bidding.” The deal would’ve ended the airport’s operating deficit, but now it will go back out to bid with the other FBO at the airport planning to bid.

Looking at the buying spree Atlantic and Signature have been on the past four months, that one extra bid will have to do I reckon.  

Bridgeport was nearing a deal to sell the airport to the Connecticut Airport Authority, but now neighboring Stratford wants to run the facility and asking to bid. Kevin Dillon with CAA has stated in the press that delays in the process would take the authority’s interest away from running the airport.

Sikorsky has a lifeline in CAA, but not all states are lucky to have an aviation-focused authority to swoop in and make rational decisions based on market evidence. Getting industry education to boards and community leaders on the basics of the industry is more realistic.

Otherwise your airport is bound to become another cautionary tale. 

About the Author

Joe Petrie | Editor & Chief

Joe Petrie is the Editorial Director for the Endeavor Aviation Group.

Joe has spent the past 15 years writing about the most cutting-edge topics related to transportation and policy in a variety of sectors with an emphasis on transportation issues for the past 10 years.

Contact: Joe Petrie

Editor & Chief | Airport Business

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