Two U.S. airports with very limited international service will soon be seeing planeloads of European visitors, and are getting ready to handle the crowds and their needs.
Norwegian is opening service with its new 737MAX planes to Hartford's Bradley International, Theodore F. Green Airport in Providence and to New York's upstate Stewart International at Newburgh. Aer Lingus has already begun service to Bradley, serving a route to Dublin.
Hartford and Providence have both had international service in the past, and have some flights to Mexico and Caribbean sun-spots; Stewart has never had scheduled international service before. It will see Norwegian flights to Shannon and Dublin, Ireland and Bergen, Norway.
Providence will anchor flights to Edinburgh, and to Cork, Belfast and Shannon, Ireland, while Hartford will get an Edinburgh route to add to its Aer Lingus flight to Dublin. Hartford was once a significant hub for Northwest and USAir.
In addition to upgrades in customs and border facilities, the airports are adding new retail and food options, as well as sprucing up terminal buildings and parking. Stewart has just demolished a World War II hangar building to add more parking. Bradley has added a duty-free shop, and dining spots featuring craft beers from both Connecticut and Ireland.
The airlines are banking that the routes will be profitable using smaller planes and building loyalty within local markets. The airports hope to add to that by advertising how close they are to other major markets. Bradley, for example is about halfway between New York and Boston. Providence is closer to Boston, while Stewart is on both the New York Thruway and rail lines serving NYC.