The decision by Breeze Airways to make Bradley International Airport its fifth base of operations will bring more than 200 jobs to the Hartford area, state and airport officials announced Thursday morning.
Representatives from the airport, Breeze Airways, and the Connecticut Airport Authority joined Gov. Ned Lamont at a news conference at Bradley in Windsor Locks to announce the move.
Lamont said this development is an example of a business taking advantage of its location between New York and Boston.
“I want to play to our strengths as a state,” Lamont said. “That’s how you grow and expand and get opportunities for everybody.”
In addition to housing aircraft, the company’s Bradley location will be able to hire local pilots, flight attendants, and mechanics, officials said.
Lamont said Connecticut has one of the “best-trained workforces in the world,” and making Bradley International one of its bases means Breeze Airways will help make Connecticut an accessible location to more people traveling from outside the state, as well as for people here looking to travel.
“We have to make sure that Connecticut has easy access to the rest of the country, and that’s what Bradley does, and that’s what Breeze Airways does,” Lamont said.
Officials also discussed Breeze’s collaboration with East Hartford-based Pratt and Whitney, which built the GTF engines for the airline’s 80 new Airbus A220s. Those engines will make the flights quieter for passengers and also reduce fuel and carbon emissions by 20%, according to David Lehman, Commissioner of the state Department of Economic and Community Development.
Breeze Airways will provide service to 18 cities and 14 states from Bradley by the end of February. It will also expand its number of nonstop destinations from four to 12, Breeze CEO and Founder David Neeleman said. Those additional destinations will be announced over the next few months.
“Part of the quality of life is to be able to travel and do things and see different places,” Neeleman said.
Neeleman is also a Connecticut resident as he moved here with his wife and nine children back in 1999.
“Connecticut has a special place in my heart,” Neeleman said.
The four locations currently offered are Charleston, South Carolina; Columbus, Ohio; Norwalk, Virginia; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Bradley International Airport has been recognized as one of the best airports of its size in the country, according to Tony Sheridan, chair of the Connecticut Airport Authority Board of Directors.
Breeze Airways began operations in May 2021, with Bradley being one of three destinations it served from its first day. The state Department of Economic and Community Development will support the project with a grant of up to $1.3 million, contingent on the company creation and retention of 212 full-time jobs, officials said.