New hi-tech airport will speed travellers on their way
The new airport terminal promises a more convenient and colourful experience for travellers when it opens its doors this morning.
The Royal Gazette took part in a guided tour of the brand new terminal just a day before the first commercial flight touched down.
Staff from Skyport, the airport operators said yesterday the final touches were still to be made.
But the lobby’s high ceilings, decorated with depictions of island birds and bright photographs of Bermudian life caught the eye.
Shazar Hack, the technical director of Skyport, said that the new terminal’s check-in counters were not assigned to particular airlines – a decision made to improve flexibility.
The new terminal will also remove the need for US-bound passengers to carry their checked luggage through US Customs.
Luggage is instead left at the check-in counter, as was earlier done for people en route to the UK or Canada.
Security is also no longer divided between US-bound travellers and people flying elsewhere.
All travellers will pass through the same hall before US-bound passengers are directed to US Customs.
The Customs hall is decorated with an array of bright photographs chosen to highlight Bermuda’s diversity.
The departure lounge is also shared, with waiting areas on the north side of the building reserved for US-bound flights and the south side for flights to the UK and Canada.
Mr Hack said the size of the two areas could be altered depending on demand.
He added: “You can have four international or four US, depending on how busy we are, or the time of day.”
The north and south sides of the departure lounge feature food, retail and bathrooms along with an outdoor patio – although the patios cannot be used by smokers.
Mr Hack said: “You will be able to go outside and look at Ferry Reach before you depart on to your aircraft.”
The seats in the lounge also feature electrical outlets for people to charge their device’s battery for their flights.
Passengers arriving in Bermuda will be guided through hallways to Bermuda Customs, which is decorated with dozens of Bermuda kites hung from the ceiling.
Returned residents should have a shorter wait than usual because of a series of six electronic passport readers.
But other visitors and business travellers must go to standard processing counters.
Mr Hack said the airport’s lighting and air conditioning systems were designed to conserve energy.
He added: “Everything is computerised, so at any time we can control the lighting levels and the amount of air that needs to go into the space to benefit the comfort of the passengers and staff in the building.
“There will be an adjustment period as we see how everything works to make the building as energy efficient as possible.”
Mr Hack said that the terminal’s location and design should help to avoid the impact of storm surge during hurricanes.
He said: “With Fabian, the storm surge came from the southeast, but this terminal is built on the northwest end and we rotated it so the alignment is north-south mainly.
“We have also raised the elevation approximately four feet above the existing facility, so that will mitigate as much as possible any storm surge.