Bermuda’s new jewel
The L.F. Wade International Airport is the only airport serving the British overseas territory of Bermuda in the North Atlantic Ocean. Previously known simply as Bermuda International Airport, it was renamed in 2007 to honour L. Frederick Wade – the late leader of the country’s Progressive Labour Party. Whilst there is still only one terminal in operation, handling more than 800,000 passengers per year, a second terminal is currently being built under the guidance of Skyport, which was granted a 30-year concession to manage and operate the airport in 2017.
Owned by the Canadian infrastructure development company, Aecon Concessions, Skyport has been tasked with transforming Bermuda’s airport infrastructure and services, in a joint effort alongside the Government and the tourism sector to make the country an even more attractive and accessible destination. Aecon has taken care of the financing of the project, which includes a $285 million fixed coupon US private placement, and nearly $70 million of shareholder equity that will be contributed in the latter part of the construction. The L.F. Wade International Airport is being developed to the highest international aviation standards. To modernise Bermuda’s airport experience, retail and dining options will be improved, spaces will be made more accessible and new flight routes will be introduced together with partner airlines.
The new terminal has been designed in a way that will see it display a distinctly Bermudian style with references to classic Bermudian architecture, such as sloping roof angles and triangles. The walls will be styled to represent coral reefs, as part of a marine theme – another repetitive motif around the terminal. To enhance the natural feel to the building, the facility will also include lush landscaping using indigenous flora compatible with Bermuda’s environment and sustainable water features, thus creating an invigorating outdoor experience for travellers to enjoy on an expansive patio.
In the fashion of a true state-of-the-art facility, the terminal will feature coveredpassenger boarding bridges, as well as new and modern lounges. There will be improved concessions, restaurants, and duty-free offerings for passengers to enjoy. At the same time, pre-clearance for US departures will remain and security screening and immigration will be streamlined and modernised for a more efficient check-in and arrivals. Six new jet bridges, six immigration e-gates, and 17 automated kiosks are being added, while work is also being undertaken on the improvement of airside operations, including optimised runway lighting and new aircraft fuelling facilities. The terminal is being built with sustainability in mind to minimise environmental impact and maximise efficiencies. Being located further inland, it will be more resistant to hurricanes and will be built at a higher elevation than the existing one, spanning over 277,000 square feet.
More than 9500 square feet will be dedicated to retail space, split between the airside and landside of the terminal,and the first stage of the process to findstore and concession operators for ten retail units has begun recently. There will be four specialty retail units on the groundfloor landside of the terminal, one in the check-in area, and three in the arrivals’ location. On the airside of the arrivals’ area, also on the ground floor, there will be a 1220 square foot duty-free retail unit. The remaining five units will be airside on the first floor, for passengers who have already passed through the security screening area.
Undoubtedly, the Bermuda Airport Development Project is one of the most important the nation has seen. The sheer size of the programme opens up a host of opportunities for economic growth and prosperity for the local community. Along with creating new jobs, Skyport is trying to use Bermudian contractors wherever possible, so that the better part of the $285 million investment can feed back into the local economy.
Such is the case of Bermuda Elevator Systems – the country’s largest installer and service provider for escalators and elevators, which was awarded a major contract by Aecon in September 2017 to install the elevators and escalators in the new terminal building. Reiterating the environmental-friendliness of the project, afterhours shutdown controls will be implemented to ensure that the escalators only run when needed, minimising energy consumption. Before Bermuda Elevator Systems won the contract, four other major contracts had been awarded to Bermudian companies in June and further eight lo cal contractors had been appointed to carry out other work at the construction site.
With foundation works already finished and aboveground works scheduled to be completed by the end of 2018, thedevelopment of L.F. Wade InternationalAirport’s second terminal is going as planned, and the expectations are that it will be fully operational by 2020. As connections to new destinations worldwide are being brought in to the airport, one can presume there will be a considerable increase in the number of tourists willing to bathe in the azure waters of Bermuda and explore the exoticism of the archipelago. Their Bermudian adventure promises to start right from the moment their plane lands at the newly-built terminal, whose interior, inspired by the local culture, will get them in the right mood to delve into a once-in-alifetime experience.
Building the second terminal at the L.F. Wade International Airport (Bermuda)
$285 million development project
Often uses Bermudian contractors to boost local economy