American Airlines, the only carrier offering commercial flights out of Tweed New Haven Airport, has cut its daily round-trip service from the airport.
The airline had previously offered three flights daily from New Haven to Philadelphia, but is now offering a 6 a.m. flight on Tuesdays and Wednesdays and 6 a.m. and 12:39 p.m. flights on the other days. The airline is maintaining its weekend service between Tweed and Charlotte, North Carolina.
Sean Scanlon, the executive director at Tweed, told the New Haven Independent that the scheduling change is based on reduced demand during the winter, adding that a similar change occurred in January and February 2019. He also noted American is flying a larger airplane this year – a 76-seat Embraer, compared with the 50-seat CRJ-200 prop plane used last year – and flights were selling at 75% seating capacity.
Tweed has been seeking to expand its main runway from 5,600 feet to at least 6,000 feet in order to attract more commercial air traffic. Ned Lamont supported the extension of the runway during his 2018 gubernatorial campaign and has called for a second airport along the shoreline to expand air travel, although he stopped short of specifically citing Tweed as the airport to accommodate those goals.
In July 2019, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a 23-page decision that voided a 2009 state statute limiting the airport’s runway to 5,600 feet, ruling that the final determination on its runway length lies with the Federal Aviation Administration and not the state. Connecticut Attorney General William Tong has asked the U.S. Supreme Court for its input on the appeals court decision, asking whether the airport can sue the state under the U.S. Constitution’s Supremacy Clause, as well as whether the FAA can preempt state law regarding the airport’s runway length.
“We believe both these issues are of national, state and local significance and merit Supreme Court review,” Tong said.