CAA Media Report from 6.13.2024

In the post-pandemic era, Connecticut residents can again fly directly to dozens of destinations across the U.S. And they can get double-digit fares for many of those flights.

The abundance of low prices for flights out of Bradley International Airport and Tweed New Haven Airport is due in large part to the arrival in the state of two carriers that launched in 2021: Houston-headquartered Avelo Airlines and Salt Lake City-headquartered Breeze Airways.
“It’s a great market, so it’s really great to be able to add service,” Breeze founder and CEO David Neeleman, a former New Canaan resident who also founded JetBlue, said last year.
Today, Breeze runs nonstop routes from Windsor Locks-based Bradley to the following destinations:
Fort Myers
Las Vegas
Myrtle Beach
New Bern
Richmond, VA
Vero Beach

From Westchester County Airport, just across the state line from Greenwich, Breeze flies nonstop to:
Vero Beach

Avelo is the sole airline that operates out of Tweed New Haven Airport. From there, it flies nonstop to:
Chicago (Midway)
Daytona Beach
Fort Myers
Fort Walton Beach
Ft. Lauderdale
Myrtle Beach
San Juan, PR
West Palm Beach
Wilmington, NC
Many of Avelo’s and Breeze’s one-way fares are less than $100. Airline officials said that the low prices do not mean that they are diminishing customer service.

“We’re just more efficient,” Neeleman said. “We have less legacy costs, we have more technology. We don’t have big call centers. It’s just a new kind of airline.”

As they expand in Connecticut, Avelo and Breeze continue to focus on popular destinations for vacations and weekend getaways in the eastern half of the U.S. From Bradley, Breeze will add summer-season nonstop flights to Greenville-Spartanburg; New Bern, North Carolina; and Orlando. From Westchester, it will launch summer-season nonstop flights to Myrtle Beach; Raleigh-Durham; and Portland, Maine.
At Tweed, Avelo is planning to launch nonstop flights in June to Houston; Lakeland, Florida; St. Louis; and Traverse City, Michigan. It will be the only carrier to fly directly to those destinations from Connecticut.

Avelo does not operate at Bradley, but airport officials indicated that they would support Avelo if it wanted to expand to Bradley.

“We think that’s a real possibility,” Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority, which owns and operates Bradley, said last year. “We’d love to see them establish some level of presence here at the airport. There may actually be an advantage to Avelo operating at Bradley, for any diversions they would have out of New Haven. This is very convenient for them to process passengers.”
Similarly, Avelo CEO and Chairman Andrew Levy said last year that expanding to Bradley, “is an option that would certainly allow us a little more flexibility… it’s certainly a possibility.”

Avelo and Breeze have contributed significantly to the post-pandemic recovery of Tweed and Bradley. About 6.25 million passengers passed through Bradley in 2023 — up about 8 percent from 2022, but still down 7.5 percent from 2019. The 2023 passenger total included about 419,000 who departed or arrived on Breeze flights.

“Having Breeze here allowed us to recover a lot of that traffic faster than we would have otherwise,” Dillon said. “As business travel comes back, you’re going to start to see our numbers go above pre-pandemic levels. Pre-pandemic, Bradley handled about 7 million passengers (annually). As I’ve said all along, I do believe Bradley could easily be a 10 million passenger airport. We’re classified as a medium hub today, but to be 10 million-plus would really solidify us.”

Annual passenger statistics are not available from Tweed, but Avelo data shows that the airline has served more than 1 million passengers at Tweed since its first flight from the airport in November 2021.
Minneapolis police officer killed in ambush escorted to CT hometown
New Haven Register / June 12, 2024
Police escorted the body of slain Minneapolis officer and Connecticut native Jamal Mitchell from Bradley International Airport to a New Haven funeral home Wednesday. 
Mitchell, a New Haven native, died May 30 in the line of the duty when he was shot while responding to a shooting in the Whittier neighborhood by a man who appeared to be a victim, according to The Associated Press.
New Haven Police Chief Karl Jacobson said city police are among the mourners for Mitchell and will be there to help give him a proper sendoff.
"Jamal Mitchell was a New Haven native, grew up in the city," Jacobson said. Many of Mitchell's family members still live in and around New Haven, the chief said.

A contingent of about three dozen motorcycle officers from state and New Haven police gathered in a lot across from gate E-9 at Bradley International Airport Wednesday as they awaited the landing of the plane carrying Mitchell's body.

At 5:15 p.m., the plane landed, and a short time later the escort pulled out of the lot and turned left on Light Lane. The hearse carrying Mitchell pulled through the gate at about 5:40 p.m. and joined the escort as state and New Haven police vehicles brought up the rear. The escort then turned left on Schoephoster and right onto Route 75 and headed for Interstate 91 South toward New Haven.

 At 6:39 p.m., the New Haven Fire Department hoisted a large American flag at the end of a firetruck ladder over Dixwell Avenue as the motorcade neared New Haven. Two long lines, consisting of about 50 police officers and 25 firefighters, flanked the road where the escort would pass.

Anita Birthwright, a family friend who now is a funeral director in Georgia but was home visiting her mother, said the family must love the support.

"It’s a beautiful family," said Birthwright, who has known the family since eighth grade and once dated Mitchell’s uncle. "I love their family. I know his mother very well."

Birthwright said, “It was important to me to come show my love for the family” although she did not know Jamal Mitchell well.

Just before 7 p.m. the hearse arrived at the McClam Funeral Home. Six police officers, three from Minneapolis and three from New Haven, removed the casket and draped it with an American flag before bringing it inside. 

Within moments after the casket went in and some family members followed it, Jacobson thanked the officers who turned out and told them to fall out.

Soon after, Jacobson fought back tears as he spoke to the media about the situation. Asked what he felt, he said "sadness, but brotherhood and sisterhood."

Jacobson said every bridge on the highway had a firetruck with a flag on it.
As police officers, danger is always present, Jacobson said. What happened to Mitchell, he said, "it can happen to any officer or any firefighter."

Jacobson noted a New Haven police officer was shot in October 2022, not long after two Bristol police officers were killed in an ambush shooting.
Jacobson thanked everyone for coming out, saying it was very moving. 
"It just shows you how proud it is to be a police officer," he said. "We’re not done yet. We’re going to give him a proper burial on Monday."
Jacobson said the family was very grateful for all the support. He said he first spoke to Mitchell's mother two days after he was shot, and she had expressed her desire to bring his body home at that time.
New Haven Fire Chief John Alston said Mitchell's death was tragic.

"My heart goes out to the family and to our friends, our sisters and brothers, in the police department," he said, adding he appreciated the other fire departments between Bradley Airport and New Haven for sending out fire trucks to salute the motorcade.

State Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection Ronnell Higgins and police from Southern Connecticut State University and several other departments were also on hand, along with a few dozen neighbors, some of whom didn’t know the family at all.
Birthwright said later that, after the officers brought Mitchell’s casket inside, she got a chance to pay her respects to his mother and his aunt, as well as to his grandmother and great-grandmother.

Mitchell also will be honored with a service at the city's Floyd Little Athletic Center adjacent to James Hillhouse High School, 480 Sherman Parkway. The service, which is open to the public, will be Monday, beginning with viewing hours from 9 to 11 a.m. The service will follow at 11 a.m.
Mitchell then will be buried at Evergreen Cemetery, Jacobson said.
New Haven police officers will be present at the service. 

Mitchell was remembered as a hero with a passion for helping the community during a public service Tuesday in Minneapolis.

Mitchell was one of the officers who responded to a call of a double shooting at a Minneapolis apartment complex. When Mitchell was a couple of blocks from his destination, they said, he noticed individuals who were injured. They said he got out of his car to provide aid to one man, now identified as 35-year-old Mustafa Mohamed, who then shot the officer.

Officials said another officer arrived at the scene and traded gunfire with the shooter, who died while officers attempted to save his life. They said the officer who shot the suspect also was wounded, although his injuries were not life-threatening.

Another person, believed to be a bystander, was shot and taken to a hospital in critical condition, officials said. A responding firefighter also received minor injuries, they said.

When other officers went to the apartment that was the location of the initial shooting call, officials said, they found two people inside who had been shot. One was dead and the other was hospitalized in critical condition.
This story was also covered by the following media:
FOX 61 
News Nation 
New Haven Independent
Stamford Advocate
KSTP-TV Minneapolis 
WATR Radio
News Talk Am 1490
Star Tribune
Hartford Courant