Connecticut’s Hartford-Brainard Airport (KHFD) provides numerous benefits to the city and its business community, and efforts should be made to boost investment in the downtown facility to maximize its value, according to a state report.
The purpose of the report, conducted this year by the state’s Legislative Program Review and Investigations Committee, was to evaluate whether alternative uses of the airport’s land would be more beneficial to Hartford.
The committee concluded that HFD’s “overall benefits to the economy outweigh its costs,” and that additional investment in the facility would increase both its value and benefit to greater Hartford.
“HFD is a key part of Hartford’s transportation system, regional airport system and the national aviation infrastructure,” said Dean Saucier, the National Business Aviation Association‘s Northeast reginal representative. “We’re hopeful that this report will help remove any uncertainty over the airport’s future, and pave the way for further investment.”
NBAA has been actively supportive of efforts to keep HFD open, just as it has worked in other communities across the country – such as Santa Monica, California, and East Hampton, New York — to preserve access to business and general aviation.
The airport, owned by the Connecticut Airport Authority, sits on 200 acres about two miles from Hartford’s business district. The site has hosted an airport since 1921. HFD is an FAA-designated regional reliever airport, and has received FAA airport improvement program grant money.
“The airport authority and the Brainard Airport operator repeatedly emphasized to committee staff that they and other entities would like to boost their investments in the airport, but uncertainty about the site’s future has been an impediment,” the report said.
The airport’s annual state economic contribution is about $43 million, the study found, and the facility supports about 110 private-sector jobs. Local companies, including three major insurance firms, cited the airport’s presence as one of the city’s benefits.
“This report underscores what everyone who does business at HFD and many in the community have long understood: The airport is a very valuable asset to Hartford, the state of Connecticut and, in fact, the region,” said Barbara Rowley, co-owner of VIP Avionics, a sales and service center located on HFD that generates 50% of its business from out-of-state customers.