Hartford’s Airport Expansions: A Harbinger of Doom?

An article from the Australian Herald-Sun newspaper points out that the release of new AC/DC albums has correlated with economic recessions in the United Kingdom. True.

Another odd correlate: expansions of Bradley International Airport outside of Hartford, Connecticut.  Whenever the airport expands, the economy contracts.

Bradley, according to the FAA, the 50th busiest airport in the country, serves the cities of Hartford, CT and Springfield, MA. Relative to the size of the cities it serves–both under 200,000 in population–it’s a pretty busy airport. Some people doing business in the New York suburbs fly there as do those connected with the insurers, defense contractors, and other assorted businesses that headquarter in the Connecticut River Valley.

The correlates:

  • The airport opened in 1947 when the end of World War II was causing significant economic dislocations.
  • An “international” expansion opened in 1971 and 1972, just in time for the oil crisis recession.
  • In 1989, another expansion opened just as all of New England (and then the whole country) slid into a major recession.
  • A major parking garage opened in 2001 just in time for 9/11. (The garage actually couldn’t be used for awhile because of security concerns.)
  • And, guess what? The final phase of a major expansion is going on right now.

Unlike the AC/DC albums, I do think that this correlation may be due to something other than blind luck. Hartford and Springfield both saw their glory days before World War II and have been on the decline, more-or-less, ever since. The airport tends to grow when Connecticut’s economy hits a high point and New York City’s three impossible-to-expand airports get particularly over-crowded. Anyway, just a thought.