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Dutch Connection

Fasten Your seat Belts Hartford-to-Holland trip is back

Hartford Courant

December 12, 2008

Finally, some good news. In June, it will again be possible to fly from the banks of the Connecticut River to the banks of the Amstel. Gov. M. Jodi Rell announced Tuesday that direct flights from Hartford to Amsterdam, canceled earlier this year because of high fuel costs, will return.

Northwest Airlines began the service, to much hoopla, in the summer of 2007. Despite good patronage, the airline announced a year later that it would have to stop the flights. But Kiran Jain, the airport's highly regarded marketing director, didn't take no for an answer. Ms. Jain kept the pressure on, backed by other state officials and business leaders.

Northwest, now a subsidiary of Delta Air Lines, will operate the new flight fives times a week using 160-passenger Boeing 757-200 aircraft. Amsterdam is a hub to scores of cities across Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Bradley International Airport will live up to its name once more.

Restarting a closed air route is unusual; state Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie called it "miraculous." It's imperative that public officials and business leaders take the best advantage of the re-established transatlantic service by promoting tourism the economy will come back one of these days and pursuing international companies that are looking for a presence near an airport on the East Coast of the U.S. At the same time, towns around the airport should consider broadening the business mix, now largely parking lots, fast-food emporiums and the like.

In the age of globalization, international travel is almost a necessity. The newly restored service will help get Greater Hartford back in the game.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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