New Bermuda airport finally gets go-ahead

 

After years of debate, the newly formed Bermuda Airport Authority is finally approved and ready to get the Airport Redevelopment Project underway

Despite some opposition in the government and many hours of debate in the Senate, the Bermuda Airport Authority Act 2017 and the Airport Redevelopment Concessions Act 2017 were both recently passed.

The first bill is for the creation of the Bermuda Airport Authority (BAA). The BAA would take over responsibility for the general administration, control and management of LF Wade International Airport, oversee the redevelopment of the facility by the Canadian Commercial Corporation, and also oversee its maintenance and operation by Bermuda Skyport Corporation Ltd.

The Airport Redevelopment Project (ARP) has been debated for the past two years, with the apparent main bone of contention being a lack of transparency.

What is not being argued is the need for airport improvements. The ARP includes the construction and operation of a new terminal at a different site within the airport grounds.

Also included is:

• construction and operation of additional apron space

• installation of apron lighting systems

• modifications to taxiway interconnects and interface

• installation and operation of a new aircraft hydrant refuelling system

• de-commissioning of the majority of the existing terminal, the remainder of which may be used for airport operations and office space

The Government of Bermuda, the owner of L.F. Wade International Airport, has identified the Canadian Commercial Corporation and their sub-contractor Aecon to finance, construct and operate the project over a 30-year concession period.

The decision was made to build a new terminal rather than fix the old one because there would be no way to bring the old airport up to current standards. The repair and maintenance fees would make it cost prohibitive. In addition, the old airport cannot meet growing demand for passenger capacity.

Based on initial cost estimates developed by Aecon, Project construction costs are expected to be $267 million (inflated) and Demolition/Renovation Costs (inflated) $16 million. This represents a significant decrease from the BD$514 million cost estimate that HNTB put forward in the 2008 Airport Master Plan and reflects a revised architectural design and reduced infrastructure redevelopment proposed by Aecon.

The Bermuda Airport Authority will supervise airport operations, quality standards and other performance obligations of the airport operator, Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited (Skyport), and the BAA will be responsible for the approval of regulated fees.

The Bermuda Airport Authority will provide for retained Government services – air traffic control operations, meteorological services, airport fire and rescue services and ground electronics. The Bermuda Airport Authority will also be responsible for additional revenue generating opportunities.

The new Airport Terminal Building and the entire L.F. Wade International Airport complex will remain the property of the Government of Bermuda. The vast majority of the staff from the existing Department of Airport Operations will move over to work for Skyport to operate and maintain the new airport.