Upgrades at Burlington International Airport Make Meeting In the Queen City Easier Than Ever

With a setting on the shores of Lake Champlain between the parallel backdrops of the Green Mountains and Adirondacks and all the conveniences of a small city, Burlington's charm as a meeting destination is undeniable. If the ease of getting here is a more subjective matter, the team at the Patrick Leahy Burlington International Airport is doing everything it can to change that. Thanks to a raft of upgrades—both to the airport itself and the number of routes it offers—it's easier than ever for event attendees to get to and from Burlington and the northern New England area.

BTV Airport Gate 15

The most newsworthy recent update to BTV might be its new name, given in 2023 to honor Vermonter Patrick Leahy upon his retirement from the US Senate where he was the third-longest-serving member. Fliers, however, are more likely to take note of the airport's increased capacity in the form of more flights and routes. For example, the low-cost carrier Breeze Airways recently added routes from Burlington to Tampa, Orlando, Raleigh, Jacksonville, and Fort Myers, unlocking several new links between the northeast and the southeast. While many airports are cutting back on routes, BTV is gaining them.


All that is on top of an already impressive list of destinations that includes major hubs like New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Denver, Philadelphia, and DC, which makes direct or one-stop travel to Burlington a cinch. What's more, some established airlines are increasing how often they fly to BTV and how many passengers they'll carry here. American Airlines, for one, recently announced plans to up their capacity to Burlington by 50% compared to last year. Along with other expansions, BTV's capacity is set to grow by 26% this year.

Jeff Bartley, director of innovation and marketing at BTV, explains that the increase in seats is part of a larger trend. "The airline industry is going through a change. Instead of more frequent flights with smaller planes, they are going with larger planes and less flights," he says. BTV is getting more seats and more flights, and the physical infrastructure at the airport is adapting to keep up. Bartley says that soon, the airport will kick off Project NexT, an expansion plan that will increase terminal space to accommodate bigger planes and create amenities like an event space and a viewing patio that overlooks the airfield.


These upgrades are on top of some others that have already been completed. There's now more space in the gates for passengers and concessions. Plus, frequent BTV fliers knowBreeze Airplane at BTV that they can keep their liquids and laptops in their carry-ons thanks to a new security wing outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. If getting through the security line is the bane of the airport experience, it isn't true in Burlington. 

All this development helped BTV earn distinction as one of the best small airports in the US. And even with these changes the airport maintains the small-town airport feel (despite being the second-busiest in the region after the far larger Boston Logan). The security line moves fast, concessions are led by local establishments, parking is a snap, getting in and out of the terminal a quick process, and it only takes 15 minutes to get from baggage claim to downtown. For anyone attending a meeting or event, the travel part of business travel can often be a headache, but not so much here. Patrick Leahy BTV has certainly come a long way since its original runway was leveled with a horse-drawn grader, but not so far that the charm of this small city and the green hills beyond it ends at the arrivals curb.