Airport plan: lessons from the Caribbean
Recently the Bermuda Government announced that it was signing a deal to have a new airport terminal built. On the surface this sounds great.
But when we dig under the surface, the numbers are not quite adding up.
We are supposedly going to give up 30 years of revenue to a Canadian corporation whose first loyalty is to shareholders and Canadians.
There are some comparisons with other islands that must be analysed. Let us have a look at comparative costs of new airports recently completed throughout the region.
• Antigua: V.C. Bird International
Size: 247,570 square feet
When completed: 2015
Total air arrivals 2014: 249,316
Total cost: $98 million
• Bahamas: Lynden Pindling International
Size: 500,000 sq ft
When completed: 2014
Total air arrivals 2014: 924,898
Total costs: $409 million
• Cayman Islands: Owen Roberts International
Size: 207,000 sq ft
Total air arrivals 2014: 382,816
Total cost: $70 million
• St Maarten: Princess Juliana International
Size: 290,000 sq ft
Total air arrivals 2014: 499,920
Total cost: $117 million
• Bermuda projections
Completion date: unknown
Total air arrivals 2014: 224,246
Total costs: $255 million, as per Bob Richards, the Minister of Finance
Lessons to be learnt
So the question has to be asked, if similar sized airports can be built in the region of $100 million, why is the Bermuda Government looking to spend out nearly triple that amount for a terminal of equal or lesser size?
Most importantly, not one of these islands is giving away their airport lease for 30-plus years to a foreign entity. The funds generated by the airport go back into the coffers to pay off the incurred costs.
So again the question must be asked, why did the One Bermuda Alliance not tender out the airport deal to see what other offers could be made?
Higher annual air arrivals and lower airport construction costs ... hmm, it looks like we have much to learn from our Caribbean cousins.