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Authority operating Bradley International Airport seeks to buy Sikorsky airport for $10M

Seth Wenig

The authority that operates Bradley International Airport and other state-owned airports in Connecticut is seeking to pay up to $10 million to buy the airport named after aviation pioneer Igor Sikorsky from the city of Bridgeport.

Hearst Connecticut Media reported the Connecticut Airport Authority last week approved a term sheet outlining the potential sale.

The airport has been named since 1972 after Sikorsky, the Russian-born aviation innovator who invented the first practical helicopter, though last fall the city renamed it Bridgeport Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport. That prompted criticism from Sikorsky's sons and others who faulted the city for not allowing public input before vote. Bridgeport has operated the Stratford-based airport since the 1930s.

The airport serves business, charter and private flights but has been eyed for a return to commercial passenger flights. That likely would require millions of dollars of infrastructure upgrades. The airport currently has an annual operating deficit of about $500,000.

A recent study commissioned by Bridgeport and airport tenants Atlantic Aviation and Three Wing Aviation concluded a new passenger terminal would cost at least $15 million, but that the airport could produce millions in revenue for the state through taxes and fees, as well as provide jobs and attract other businesses.

The Connecticut Airport Authority has the ability to raise the money for infrastructure improvements, aviation experts believe.

Airport authority director Kevin Dillon told Hearst he hopes to finalize a deal by the end of the year, though he added a lease agreement could be a fallback.

“That does not mean if for some reason we can’t reach an understanding on the acquisition we won’t come back and revisit a long-term lease,” he said.

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