For decades, Greater New Haven business leaders have been pointing to the dwindling fortunes of Tweed New Haven Airport as a major barrier to economic development in the region. This week's announcement that the airport will be privatized for at least the next 43 years, with a longer runway and a new carrier offering flights to several cities, is a huge boon to our area.
Connecticut has spent most of its air transportation money on Bradley, which is now offers international, as well as domestic, flights, and is the biggest of the State's three airports. There has been a great deal of rivalry between Sikorsky in Stratford and Tweed in East Haven. Neither one has made much, if any, progress. Both have been hampered by surrounding residential developments, short runways, and poor prospects for big carriers. Nor has either location garnered steady support from its legislative delegation.
It's a new day now for Tweed. By inking a private deal, public sector funds are no longer necessary. The powers that be in Hartford don't need to be courted, and they should be nothing but enthusiastic about this outcome. Both New Haven and East Haven, whose borders it straddles, will see upsides from this arrangement, apart from a boost to the region as a whole. The terminal will be moved, which will ease the traffic burden on the Morris Cove neighborhood. Jobs will be created for both municipalities, and other development should spring up on the terminal side.
Once we can offer residents convenient flights to hubs or favored destinations, within minutes of their homes, people who travel regularly on business, or even for pleasure, will reap major benefits. Whether they park at the airport, get dropped off, or take a short Uber ride, they will save hours of time now taken up with congestion leading to the NYC airports. The certainty of the amount of lead time required to get to Tweed, and the small size of the TSA line, will outweigh in many cases the need for stopover plane changes to many cities.
Regional business leaders have long known the untapped demand for a viable local air transportation option. With the huge increase in remote work possibilities brought on by the pandemic, many more people are likely to choose to live in Greater New Haven. We have recreation, schools, health care, and the arts, all in abundance. Now we will have commutability as well. Let the commercial expansion begin!