Editorial: Expansion of Bradley International Airport Will Positively Affect UConn

An airplane takes off from Bradley International Airport. The airport's expansion will serve to benefit UConn staff and students. 

In April of last year, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy set aside $5 million for his proposed budget to expand the Bradley International Airport with an additional transatlantic flight, according to Hartford Business. Aer Lingus was seen as the likely recipient to create a nonstop flight form Hartford to Dublin. Kevin Dillon, CAA executive director and CEO, previously commented that developing an international service would aid in the addition of domestic feeders.

At the end of October, Connecticut backed Lingus with a $9M guarantee upon the success of the flight, according to Hartford Business. The state is to provide $4.5 million during the first year of operation, and will continue to match that the second year granted the success of the airline is proven. The new flight will open in September 2016.

However, Dillon held true to his word, as Bradley International is now seeing an expansion in domestic flights heading westward, according to the Daily Campus. This includes a nonstop flight between Bradley International and Los Angeles, starting June 2nd. This flight not only expands corporate opportunities for the city of Hartford, but also academic opportunities for the students and faculty of the University of Connecticut.

UConn’s students and faculty are often granted many opportunities for conferences held on the west coast. However, the travel arrangements are difficult, or more often inconvenient, with the layovers presiding between the university and the destination. Eliminating layovers in cities such as Chicago or Dallas, especially during the wintertime will be beneficial; additionally increasing out-of-state students’ ability to spend time with family over the holidays.

Creating a nonstop flight between the two coasts also expands the interactions between various colleges. This facilitates corroborations between professors and students in both academics and research. The creation of a larger network of colleges and programs available to its students will mark the increasing number of resources available to the students of a public university. Expanding both domestic and international flights from Bradley International would also aid in athlete recruitment for UConn Athletics. This accounts for an expansion of opportunities both academic and athletic.

There is also ease in travel arrangements for international students from China. This academic year, UConn received 279 freshmen students from China, according to the Daily Campus. A nonstop flight to Los Angeles would reduce the number of layovers international students face. With the increasing number of international students, there is an increasing market for such a flight, which briefly existed in 2013 and 2014.

Gov. Malloy believes this type of expansion would be beneficial to businesses in Hartford. This proves beneficial to UConn students, who often find internships and jobs during the tenure or shortly after graduation in the city. Increasing transportation creates a general trend to an increase in economic development, which ultimately benefits college students.