STRATFORD, Connecticut (AP) – One of Connecticut’s airports has a new name.
City of Bridgeport officials have approved the renaming of the Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Stratford to Bridgeport Igor Sikorsky Memorial Airport. The Connecticut Post reported that the decision was made Friday without public input and was a replay of a vote earlier in the week that had not been properly noticed under the law on state freedom of information.
The airport has been named after Sikorsky since 1972, the Russian-born aviation innovator who invented the first practical helicopter and founded the Stratford-based aircraft manufacturing company that bears his name.
Sikorsky’s sons, who are 90, and a local group, Friends of Sikorsky, opposed the name change. Stratford Mayor Laura Hoydick, the only non-Bridgeport official on the four-member Airports Commission and the only one to vote against the change, lamented the lack of public comment. Hoydick wrote in a bulletin to voters that the change “diminished the honor accorded to the airport’s namesake and the importance of this aviation and engineering giant to history and industry of our region “.
The group leader had asked for the opportunity to speak before the vote, the Post reported. City councils can allow public comment but are not required to, according to the National Freedom of Information Commission.
Although the airport is in Stratford, Bridgeport has operated it since 1937 – and for years in deficit – under various names. The name change is part of Mayor Joe Ganim’s rebranding initiative, which includes the return of regular passenger service to the airport, which now serves business, charter and private flights.
âWe carried a big, big burden with the airport, but we never let it go because we knew we were providing jobs and had hope (for its success),â said Lydia Martinez, clerk of Bridgeport City, one of three city authorities who voted for the change, the Post said.
City officials are also hoping to eventually lease or sell the airport operation to the Connecticut Airport Authority, which also operates Bradley International Airport at Windsor Locks and several smaller airports, the Post reported.
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