Connecticut’s economic future depends in part on Bradley International Airport’s ability to fulfill its potential as a regional transportation and business hub. Recent efforts to make the area around the airport more attractive for economic development are starting to pay off.

Optical fiber manufacturer Nufern just cut the ribbon on a facility that more than doubles its previous size in East Granby through the incentives offered through the Bradley Airport Development Zone.

Lawmakers established the zone around Bradley International Airport in 2010 and gave local municipalities tools—including tax creditsand exemptions for existing and startup manufacturing businesses—to lure, and keep, companies here.

Nufern was the first to qualify, says CEO Martin Seifert, “and we have already exceeded our anticipated hiring of 50 more employees. We are now at 151 and expect at least 20 more to come by the end of the year.”

Despite offers from other states to relocate Nufern, the company chose Connecticut because “the state was taking proactive steps to encourage business and people to stay,” said Seifert.

The Bradley Airport Development Zone, a new Connecticut Airport Authority, and plans for light rail to the airport are among the positive steps. But for Nufern, these factors were in addition to Connecticut’s skilled workers, good quality of life, and highly regarded institutions of higher education.

Foreign Trade Zone

Another economic boost to the area surrounding the airportis the expansion of the Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ) from 16 acres to more than 400 acres.

Within the trade zone, foreign and domestic merchandise is considered to be outside U.S. customs territory.  Therefore, goods may enter the trade zone without a formal customs entry and without payment of duties or excise taxes. The program also helps companies reduce their administrative costs for foreign trade.

The FTZ expansion and development zone designation should provide a strong boost to the state’s economy, Bradley’s attractiveness, and Connecticut’s overall competitiveness.

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Gjede at 860.244.1931 or eric.gjede@cbia.com.