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Bilateral effort can bring top-class airport

The Government of Canada is pleased and honoured to be working with the Government of Bermuda on the redevelopment of the L.F. Wade International Airport. Developed co-operatively between our two countries, and to be delivered through an innovative public-private partnership, this project will result in a world-class airport facility which will serve Bermuda's needs for generations to come.

As the Government of Canada's government-to-government contracting organisation, the Canadian Commercial Corporation has decades of experience working with governments on projects of national importance.

Last year, CCC was active in 70 countries discussing, developing and delivering projects with government buyers. Two key issues come up again and again as we work with governments around the world:

1. How to manage infrastructure procurements that will result in projects delivered on time and on budget and;

2. How to finance those projects given current amounts of public debt.

The approach CCC brings to governments around the world answers these challenges.

The unique solution we provide in working with governments on projects like the L.F. Wade International Airport is built around government-to-government collaboration. CCC works to determine the project requirements with the support and expertise of a leading Canadian company in the field — such as Aecon. Our collaborative government-to-government effort leverages the knowledge and expertise of the private sector at the earliest stages of project development, resulting in a tailor-made solution for the buyer that incorporates many more important elements than a traditionally tendered approach ever could.

The importance of defining the project in a way that incorporates industry best practices and local characteristics is recognised by many governments around the world. When supported by a third-party value for money assessment, this approach has proven to be a timely and cost-saving alternative to traditional competitive tendering.

This dialogue has been under way for some time now in Bermuda. The overall objective is for the Government of Bermuda and its citizens to get an airport that will be built to meet current needs, offering a great visitor experience and working environment for employees, and will also be designed for potential future expansion to accommodate the needs of generations of Bermudians to come. In addition to this collaborative approach to developing projects, there are a number of other advantages to working with CCC. Should the project result in a contract for the construction of the airport, CCC provides the Government of Canada's assurance that the contract's terms and conditions will be satisfied, and the contract will be delivered on time and on budget. An essential element in the CCC approach is how we work with companies, like Aecon, who understand the importance of local employment, training and educational opportunities, and are committed to using local suppliers as subcontractors on the project.

I can point to CCC's most recent airport project, the construction of the Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito, Ecuador. The need for a new airport in Quito was identified as far back as 1970. Ageing infrastructure, high repair costs and deteriorating working conditions were plaguing operation of the existing airport. Through a government-to-government contract, similar to what is proposed for Bermuda, CCC acted as the Prime Contractor, with Aecon as the supplier, to build a new airport with no impact on national debt.

CCC is proud of its work with Aecon in Quito, and for good reason: it has been globally recognised for its quality, design and service. Since completion, the new airport has received 15 accolades in excellence.

To highlight a few: in 2009 it was awarded the Best Practices on Environmental Sustainability in the Americas recognised by CIFAL, United Nations. In 2012 it was awarded the Trade Leaders Club's New Millennium Award for Tourism, Hospitality and Gastronomy; in 2013 it was awarded the Latin American Quality Institute's Ecuadorean Company of the Year Award for quality of service at the VIP Lounges of Quito International Airport; in 2014 and 2015 it was awarded the World Travel Awards recognition as South America's Leading Airport.

The long list of awards is the result of a successful government-to-government contract between Ecuador and CCC that delivered a new airport for Ecuador without adding to the financial burdens of the country or its citizens. As would be the case in the redevelopment of the L.F. Wade International Airport, this project provided many local jobs, and the work CCC and Aecon did prior to contract signing significantly reduced the time it took to begin construction.

CCC also has experience working with other island nations — delivering freshwater infrastructure in Barbados, and building post-earthquake shelters in Haiti. We have worked with governments in Dominican Republic, Cuba, and Jamaica, among others to deliver customised solutions to national priorities. We are extremely proud of the work we've done and how it strengthens Canada's relationship with other nations.

The redevelopment of Bermuda's airport is an excellent opportunity to continue strengthening the collaborative relationship Canada and Bermuda have enjoyed for decades. I am confident that the new airport will be a source of pride for Bermudians for many years to come.

Cameron McKenzie is vice-president, business development and sales, Canadian Commercial Corporation.

The redevelopment of L.F. Wade International Airport is being advanced under a development agreement between the governments of Canada and Bermuda. The Canadian Commercial Corporation is a Crown corporation of the Government of Canada and brings expertise in international contracting for complex purchases and the experience to select highly capable suppliers, such as Aecon. Aecon Group Inc (TSX: ARE) is a Canadian leader in construction and infrastructure development providing integrated turnkey services to private and public sector clients through its Concessions division. www.aecon.com

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Published September 09, 2016 at 9:00 am (Updated September 09, 2016 at 4:35 am)

Bilateral effort can bring top-class airport

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