Gov.-elect Ned Lamont has nominated Tim Larson, executive director of Tweed New Haven Airport Authority, to lead the Office of Higher Education.
Larson, who also serves as a state senator representing East Hartford, would be leaving the airport at a time when a new focus is shining on Connecticut’s shoreline airports. Last month, Tweed saw its first new commercial route in 11 years with American Airlines’ inaugurating a once-a-week direct service to Charlotte, North Carolina, while the state allocated $7 million to the city of Bridgeport for infrastructure improvements within its Stratford-located Sikorsky Memorial Airport, which has not seen commercial air service in two decades.
Larson had pushed for increased ridership from Fairfield County at Tweed. “We are southern Connecticut’s airport of choice,” he said in an interview with the Business Journal last August. “We have large concentrations in Bridgeport, Fairfield, Hampton, Shelton and Trumbull. Most of our passengers are less than 30 minutes from New Haven.”
Last month, Tweed issued a consultant’s report advocating the expansion of the airport’s main runway from 5,600 feet to 6,000 feet, which would enable an increase in commercial air flights, along with a letter from Allegiant Air expressing interest in the airport if the runway was expanded. Larson told the Business Journal that more commercial flights at Tweed would attract revenue from shoreline travelers who have to drive to distant airports for their flights.