NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Tweed-New Haven Airport announced Thursday a $100-million expansion that includes a new airline, a new terminal, and a longer runway.

For decades, Tweed has struggled to make all these changes happen. But now, it’s looking like a reality.

The announcement Thursday included that the airport has signed a Letter of Intent with Avports. The company wants to take over operations and management of the airport, as an independent contractor. They would also bring in a new airline and jobs.

News 8 has learned the deal with Avports will include:

  • An investment of $60-million in the community.
  • A portion of that money will go toward improvements to the existing west terminal.
  • Construction of a NEW east terminal.
  • And adding a new airline.

The new airline is Avelo Airlines. Avelo is the nation’s first new mainline airline in nearly 15 years. The carrier will make Tweed-New Haven its first East Coast base.

These photos show what the new, modern buildings would look like.

Courtesy: Tweed-New Haven Airport
Courtesy: Tweed-New Haven Airport

According to an economic impact study commissioned by Avports, the expansion could create up to 11,000 jobs and could generate $47-million in state and local taxes over time.

Three large (737-700) Avelo aircraft will be parked at Tweed. More than 100 crew members including pilots, flight attendants, technicians, and customer support personnel, will be hired. Most will be hired locally.

Starting this summer, Avelo will begin operations at Tweed with nonstop scheduled service to a number of popular destinations.

Part of the proposed improvements include extending the existing runway to allow for more direct flights. That expansion is in line with the Airport’s recently updated Master Plan.

Gov. Lamont said during the announcement Thursday, “This is how you open up a state; this is how you get a state moving again.”

Sean Scanlon, Executive Director of Tweed-New Haven Airport Authority, added, “We are here today because it’s a historic day not just for this airport, not just for New Haven and East Haven, but for the entire region and State of Connecticut.”

Jorge Roberts, the CEO of Avports said, “We will invest more than $100-million over the next 40 years…So this airport can become a beacon of economic growth and pride for New Haven and East Haven.”

Andrew Levy, the CEO Avelo Airlines said, “The air transportation options are pretty limited. A lot of people will drive a long way to get to the New York metro area airports or you go up to Hartford which is not exactly a short drive.”

He’s not ready to say how many flights, or to which destinations. That will be announced in a few weeks. The business community says it’s a game-changer for the region.

New Haven Mayor Justin Elicker said of the upgrade’s impact on the city’s residents, “Over the years, I have had countless conversations with residents about Tweed. I have heard residents’ desires and concerns. This proposed deal addresses these concerns, and I strongly believe it will dramatically improve the New Haven community as a whole and the quality of life of residents living around the airport.”

Runway expansion has been controversial in years past. It will take several years to receive approvals for and to develop the runway extension and new terminal.  Access to the new terminal will be from Hemingway Avenue in East Haven.

The new lease contract would last for the next 43 years. After the lease expires the airport will be given back to the Tweed New Haven Airport Authority.

The City of New Haven and the State of Connecticut subsidize Tweed’s operations. Every year an estimated $1.8 million is given to the Authority. Total funding is more than $30 million over the last 20 years.

The lease agreement also calls for Avports to pay rent and share a portion of revenue to the Tweed Airport Authority. Environmental Assessments and FAA approvals will be needed.

The agreement will include a number of protections to ensure that Avports operates the Airport as a good neighbor.

 In addition to abiding by the local noise ordinances, Avports will implement requirements from an updated noise study within 5 years of FAA approval. And will invest up to $1.75 million in additional noise mitigation programs.

Avports will also fund environmental and traffic mitigation, with total community investments of approximately $5 million.