Taking flight

Launched in March 2017 and wholly-owned by Aecon Concessions, Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited is a special-purpose company established with the goal of managing and co-ordinating the overall delivery of the LF Wade International Airport’s redevelopment project for a 30-year concession term. Implemented under a framework agreement between the Governments of Bermuda and Canada, the airport redevelopment project is being delivered under a Government-to- Government and public-private partnership business model, with Aecon responsible for the project’s development, financing and long-term operation/maintenance. The project will deliver a larger, state-of-the-art, accessible terminal that will be able to resist hurricane-force winds, improve passenger flow and introduce new or renovated facilities. At the close of the 30-year term in 2047, Skyport’s lease with the government will end, with the day-to-day operation of the airport as well as its facilities reverting back to the Government of Bermuda.

Looking at more current developments, the new facility is due for completion in 2020, with Skyport overseeing both the 40-month project to replace Bermuda’s only airportas well as the sprucing up of the existing building over its remaining three years of service. Operating as a private company, Skyport will be more agile, efficient and will have access to better resources that will enable it to enhance the conditions of the airport, not only for visitors and residents alike, but also for the dedicated employees of LF Wade International Airport. These strengths will not only be used for the new terminal; because the presently-used airport is run-down, the company will also be hiring more staff and implementing a robust training programme to ensure existing facility deficiencies are mitigated until higher levels of service can be delivered at the new terminal in three years’ time. By operating in this manner, Skyport will create a safer, more comfortable and pleasant passenger experience for passengers both now and in the future.

“One of our biggest objectives this year was to get through the America’s Cup and ensure we were able to accommodate any influx in passenger arrivals, both commercial traffic and private jets, and I am happy to say we got through the entire event without any concerns,” highlights Aaron Adderley, President of Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited.

“Furthermore, in line with seeing doubledigit growth in air visitors over the last 17 consecutive months we have been working very closely with our friends at the Bermuda Tourism Authority, which is doing a fantastic job in stimulating visitor arrivals. In addition to visitor traffic, as the economy continues to grow we will see more residents begin to travel too. Bermuda is a unique market as it has three key travel market segments: leisure visitors, international business and residents, so if we see growth in any segment, or all three, that means more passengers through the terminal, more revenue being generated and a more financially sustainable airport,” he adds.

Since taking over responsibility for the operations, maintenance and commercial functions of the airport from the Department of Airport Operations (DAO), Skyport is pleased that 80 per cent of DAO staff members made the decision to transfer. “The majority of the personnel from the previous company, 27 employees, transitioned over to Skyport, with a further nine employees hired so far as part of a recruitment drive to hire a total of 50 employees. Having the same employees helped ensure the transition of DAO to Skyport during March 15th to March 16th was seamless,” says Aaron. “It is also very important that we had many DAO employees join the organisation alongside this influx of new people, as this has resulted in a more dynamic and energetic team.”

As the contractor and manager of the development project, Aecon aims to use as many Bermudian employees as possible to ensure the bulk of the $285 million development of the airport is fed back into the local economy. “So far this major project has resulted in significant construction jobs that have gone to locals, however at times it has been necessary to bring in foreign labour due to their level of expertise. We are also creating new career opportunities with a successful apprenticeship programme where locals can learn about a discipline such as architecture or engineering; this is going very well, with approximately ten interns involved so far,” explains Aaron.

Hailed as the start of a new era, the development of the new airport will result in a cutting-edge facility that will include features such as covered passenger boarding bridges, improved concessions, restaurants and duty-free offerings as well as vistas of Bermuda’s beautiful landscape. Designed with sustainability in mind, the new airport will have a bright and open layout and will reference classic Bermudian architecture, walls styles to represent coral reefs as part of a marine theme, lush landscaping; a putting green and nature trail and a display representing Bermudian culture.

“We are on schedule and on budget and have completed smaller projects such as the realignment of the fuel line for the new airport, which came to an end earlier this year. We are also engaged in pile driving where we are piling steel columns 115 feet into the ground and we have around 200 piles that have to be driven in so that process is continuing throughout the summer and into the fall,” says Aaron. “The purpose of this is to lay the foundation so come the final quarter of 2017 the public will really see the building coming out of the ground. By 2018 the developments will be clear as the terminal continues to take shape in line with our goal of operating out of our new passenger terminal by summer 2020.”

As work continues for Aaron and his team, Bermuda is set to shine on the world stage, not only as a beautiful place to visit, but also for having an ultra-modern airport that provides the best possible features and services to its growing number of passengers.

Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited
Tasked with transforming Bermuda’s airport infrastructure and services
Will manage and co-ordinate the delivery of the airport redevelopment project for a 30-year concession term
Fusing local talent with the international expertise of Aecon Concessions