HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Bradley International Airport a ghost town these days as the numbers of travelers continue to drop as the number of states on the COVID-19 travel advisory increase. But the airport authority is hoping Governor Ned Lamont might loosen some of the restrictions.
Air travel is blamed for bringing COVID-19 here in the first place, and the pandemic continues to hurt air travel. Activity at Bradley is down 80%, but the airport authority thinks a tweak to the travel policy can change that.
Don’t be surprised to see tumbleweeds rolling through the parking lot at Bradley. Departure flights and arrival flights are down about 80% from their usual numbers, and the airport is trying to change that.
Executive Director and CEO of Airport Authority Kevin Dillon told News 8 Wednesday, “We are really asking the state ‘can you accept a negative COVID result in lieu of quarantine?’”
As the travel advisory continues to grow, now people flying in from more than 30 different states and territories must quarantine for 14 days.
Dillon hopes if the states loosened the restrictions to a negative COVID test, travel may pick up.
“If people took the test once they deplaned, they would still have to quarantine until they get the test results, but the lab we are talking to said they can get the test results back to us in 24 to 48 hours,” he explained.
Passengers deplaning at Bradley said they would rather take the COVID test and then quarantine for 14 days, and they feel the airlines and airports are doing everything they can to keep them safe.
Zak Tanne from Maryland told News 8 at Bradley Wednesday, “The protocol was great with Southwest; they leave their middle seats open so when you were on the plane you feel like you have enough room.”
John Hamill from Florida added, “I washed my hands or the shield and mask and stayed away from people doing the whole thing you’re supposed to do and it was fine.”
Bert Silverstein from Texas said, “Oh I do feel as though it was as safe as it could be.”
Dillon said, “They really have enhanced the sanitization of aircraft between flights, and the ventilation systems on the aircraft, it’s probably better air that you’re breathing in the supermarket.”
Bradley is a quasi-public agency but does not receive tax dollars; it must generate its own revenue which is way down because travel is way down amid the pandemic.
“This is a significant public health crisis and they are trying to use every measure they can and the travel advisory is one, the only thing we’re asking is that they try and rationalize it somewhat so we can get some relief,” Dillon explained.
When you look at the empty line and the empty flights, Bradley is down about $10 million in the fourth quarter alone. And as they look forward to the next year it will probably be more of the same.
Thursday, Governor Ned Lamont said in a press conference he would be open to the possibility of loosening some travel restrictions if the metrics allow.
“I’m always willing to make changes as circumstances change,” the governor said. “I’m looking down at FL TX, CA. Their infection rates are dropping quite a bit. They’re still in our quarantine zone but a lot less infectious than two weeks ago, so I will take a look at that.”
Travelers who don’t obey the quarantine order could get slapped with a $1,000 fine.