WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — Bradley International Airport recently received a $210 million facelift and now, more changes are on the way. This new project will come out to $185 million, and the federal government is paying for $20 million of that ticket price.
The main focus is on the checked baggage inspection system. The big machines that sit in the lobby of the terminal will be moved to another location to create more space.
"Bradley Airport is probably still one of the last airports in the country that still processes the security check of checked baggage on an aircraft right in the lobby," said Kevin Dillon, executive director with the Connecticut Airport Authority.
The way it is now, the machines are directly next to each airline within the terminal, sometimes causing backups and delays. They'll be removing the machines in the lobby, putting a conveyor system behind the airline ticket counters, and adding another building right behind the terminal where the luggage will go through security.
"Prior to the pandemic, we were handling around 7 million passengers. We believe Bradley could grow to a 10 million passenger airport,” Dillon said. “So, even at 7 million passengers, it gets very congested in that ticketing lobby. So, if we're looking to accommodate 3 million more passengers through the airport, then we really have to make this move to get the ticket lobby freed up.”
The grant money is coming from a $5 billion national spending plan, focused on providing upgrades to airport terminals across the country.
Passengers at Bradley on Friday were excited about the upcoming changes.
"I think it’s fabulous for such a small state, one of the smallest states in the country, with major airports on either side of us, to be able to invest that kind of money into Connecticut is fabulous," said Terri O’Donnell, from Mansfield Center.
“We fly here a lot, and I think Connecticut, in general, has a lot of older buildings, and I think investing in the airport is a great investment," said Jennifer Lansford, who is originally from Suffield.
The grant money will also be put toward new elevators, a better HVAC system, and new Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant bathrooms. At the same time, Bradley will also be working on another project that will expand the capacity of the building and ultimately change how people will exit the building.
"We'll be able to close down that central exit and expand the security checkpoint. Once again, enhancing the capacity to handle more passengers within the existing terminal," Dillon said.
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