Bradley International Airport
Bradley International Airport is located in Windsor Locks, Connecticut. It is situated in the vicinity of Hartford, the capital city of Connecticut. Bradley International Airport is Connecticut’s busiest airport and also the second-busiest airport in the New England region with 350 daily operations. The airport shares the facility with the United States Air Force, which houses the Bradley Air National Guard Base. The base is home to Connecticut Air National Guard’s 103rd Airlift Wing. The airport’s nickname is “The Gateway to New England.”
History of the Airport
In 1941, the United States Army acquired 1,700 acres of land in preparation for the eventual war. The airport was named after Army Air Force pilot Lieutenant Eugene M. Bradley, who was tragically killed in a plane crash during a training drill on the airfield itself. In his honor, the airfield was named Bradley Field. The airfield was used as a training field for the P-47 Thunderbolt fighter groups. Numerous fighter groups of the U.S. Army Air Force trained there for the duration of World War II before being deployed to both the European and Pacific theaters. In 1947, the airfield was opened for civilian use. That same year, Eastern Airlines Flight 624 was the first commercial flight to arrive. In the following year, the airport was deeded by the federal government for public and commercial use. By 1950, over 100,000 passengers traveled in and out of the Hartford-area via Bradley International Airport. By 1960, the airport surpassed 500,000 passengers. In 1952, the Murphy Terminal, later known as Terminal B, opened its doors. Prior to its 2010 closure, it was the oldest passenger terminal in the United States.
In 1971, the Murphy Terminal was expanded for the use of international arrivals. Later on, instrument landing systems were installed on two of its runways. The airport’s eastern portion suffered damage from a tornado in 1979. The New England Air Museum was badly damaged and did not reopen until 1982. In 1986, construction of the new Terminal A was completed along with the Bradley Sheraton Hotel. In 2001, construction began on a new parking garage. The opening of the garage was delayed due to the attacks on September 11. Due to the attacks, regulations were in place such as constructing parking garages away from airport tarmacs. That same year, the Terminal Expansion Project began with the expansion of Terminal A. Construction plans included a new concourse, a new International Arrivals building, and passenger screening. The project was a part to give the city of Hartford a leg up in bolstering its reputation as a place to travel for business or vacation.
In 2008, Brazilian aerospace company Embraer selected Bradley as a service center for the Northeastern region of the United States. The center is a full maintenance center for business jets. Before ceasing international flights in 2009, the only international route was from Hartford to Amsterdam via Northwest Airlines. It was Bradley International Airport’s sole international destination. As of today, there are no international destinations. As of 2012, plans are underway for the expansion of Terminal B and also the inclusion of more airlines to service passengers flying in and out of the Hartford-area.