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Aer Lingus, With $250M in 2016 Profit, Gets $4.5M From CT Taxpayers for Bradley-to-Dublin Route

February 21, 2018 By Staff
Aer Lingus, With $250M in 2016 Profit, Gets $4.5M From CT Taxpayers for Bradley-to-Dublin Route

Why is an airline with nine figures in 2016 profit taking $4.5 million in taxpayer money? The Malloy administration has an answer.

Aer Lingus, the Ireland-based airline company that started a Bradley Airport-to-Dublin route in 2016, took $4.5 million in state subsidy money in 2017, according to new reporting from the Hartford Business Journal (HBJ).

HBJ‘s Matt Pilon reported:

The payment, which is pending from the state Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), is part of a $13 million incentive deal inked between state officials and the Irish airline to woo it to Bradley, where flights began in Sept. 2016. Revenue subsidies make up the bulk of the two-year deal, at $9 million, with the rest comprised of marketing incentives and airport fee waivers.

…State officials said they hoped to see the Dublin service draw higher revenue in the first year. Nonetheless, they have decided to move ahead with the second year of Aer Lingus’ revenue-subsidy deal, pointing to a recent uptick in passenger traffic as a sign for optimism.

Aer Lingus is not exactly hurting for cash, either. Though the airline appears not to have reported its 2017 profits yet, it made €233 million in profits in 2016, equivalent to roughly $254 million at the time those profits were reported.

DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith argued to HBJ that the deal is valuable for Connecticut’s economy.

The deal “absolutely” provides value to the state’s economy, DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith said.

“I think there is a gigantic payback for the state — it creates jobs in the local market and I hear from business travelers who use it that they love to go out of Bradley,” Smith said. “I would certainly have liked to not have to provide the full $4.5 million, but hopefully the full number won’t be needed in year two.”

Taxpayers who shelled out $4.5 million, and may shell out more in 2018, while the state’s budget suffers difficult cuts and sagging revenue, may beg to differ.