Northwest To Resume Bradley To Amsterdam Daily Flight
December 10, 2008
Airline service comes and goes, and sometimes comes back again when least expected — say, during a deepening economic recession.
Two months after Northwest Airlines ended Bradley International Airport's only flight to Europe, stinging local pride and spoiling grand economic development plans, its corporate parent said it will resume direct, nonstop service to Amsterdam on June 2.
Minneapolis-based Northwest, now a Delta Air Lines subsidiary, flew daily between Hartford and Amsterdam from July 2007 through early October 2008, when the route was eliminated to the dismay of Connecticut travelers, businesses and political leaders. Northwest blamed record-high fuel prices.
Oil prices are down about 70 percent from July's peak of $147 per barrel, making jet fuel cheaper, too.
But on Tuesday, Delta emphasized the benefits of its merger with Northwest, which created the world's biggest airline, and said it would supply the passenger volume necessary to support the flight.
Some people in Connecticut didn't especially care why — they were just glad for some upbeat news at a time of economic distress. When Gov. M. Jodi Rell broke the news to a MetroHartford Alliance business breakfast Tuesday, the audience burst into applause.
Airline analyst Robert Mann of Port Washington, N.Y., said the sharp drop in fuel prices surely influenced Delta's decision. But he said its expanded customer base due to the merger might be more important. Healthy use of Northwest's original Hartford-Amsterdam flight and Greater Hartford's ample supply of business travelers were probably also factors.
On average, Northwest's original Amsterdam flights were more than 70 percent full, according to Bradley officials.
Starting June 2, Northwest Flight 98 will fly between Bradley and Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam five days a week, all but Tuesday and Friday. Northwest previously offered the flight seven days a week. The flight will depart Bradley 5:40 p.m. and arrive in Amsterdam at 6:50 a.m. the next day.
The return flight, Northwest 97, will leave Amsterdam at 1:25 p.m. and arrive at Bradley at 3:40 p.m. the same day.
Bradley is helping to pay for the privilege of restored service.
The airport will kick in $500,000 to help advertise the route and offset fees it charges the airline. As before, Bradley will market the route well outside Greater Hartford in an attempt to draw passengers from Litchfield, New Haven and Fairfield counties.
"It's a miracle," said Bradley's route development director, Kiran Jain.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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