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Taking Bermuda’s airport to the next level

The Government of Bermuda, together with our partners will develop a new airport terminal, designed to be more efficient, enjoyable and safe. This month, two pieces of significant enabling legislation regarding the Airport Redevelopment Project will be signed into law by the Governor. This is the culmination of 2½ years' work, analysis, due diligence and negotiation. The signing of these Bills brings us one step closer towards a new, state-of-the-art airport that will provide a sizeable boost to Bermuda's economy.

This new legislation means that the soon to be launched Bermuda Skyport Corporation — a Bermudian company incorporated by Aecon — will take on the responsibilities of running the existing airport. The revenue from the airport will be collected by Skyport. Collected revenues will go towards urgent repairs to the existing terminal, construction of the new terminal, operating and maintaining the airport over the length of the contract term, paying back investors and paying airport staff salaries. Skyport will also split profits with the Government of Bermuda as per contractual terms.

Existing airport staff at the Department of Airport Operations will either transfer to Skyport or to the Bermuda Airport Authority, a new government airport quango responsible for overseeing Skyport. There is expected to be a 50 per cent increase in staff working at Skyport and at the BAA.

Construction of the new airport will begin in spring 2017, with ground breaking expected to take place near Stone Crusher Corner. After an information session for local construction industry members in November 2016, Bermudian companies have been invited to prequalify to bid for contracts on the project. To date, 43 Bermudian companies have submitted qualifications for consideration. Skyport and Aecon will continue reaching out to local industry and educational institutions to ensure that Bermudians have access to employment and training opportunities.

As the new terminal will be built separate from the existing one, it will be business as usual at LF Wade International Airport. This also means that, for the duration of construction, travellers will not have to navigate a major construction site when departing or arriving to our island. With the passing of legislation, immediate urgent repairs to the airport will be made, ensuring visitors for the 35th America's Cup enjoy the best experience possible at our existing terminal. In 2016, we had an incredible increase of 17 per cent in leisure air tourism to Bermuda and we are working to keep this trend going, so it is crucial that this period of changeover goes as smoothly as possible.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation and Aecon, as per the terms and conditions of the agreement with the Government of Bermuda, will deliver the project on time, on budget and to specification. The agreement provides Skyport with a 30-year lease of LF Wade International Airport, but it is important to remember that the airport and the land upon which it sits will always fully belong to the Government of Bermuda. The agreed period for this lease cannot be extended, which means that in 2047, the running and assets of the airport will revert to the Bermuda Government in its entirety.

The passing of the legislation marks another milestone achieved in this government's plan to return Bermuda to prosperity. Having emerged from a recession last year, this is a great stepping stone for our growth and recovery. The new terminal will be a modern, state-of-the-art building that will show our visitors what they can expect from Bermuda and its people: a shining beacon of our hospitality.

The redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport is being advanced under a development agreement between the Governments of Canada and Bermuda. The Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) is a Crown corporation for 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 Everard T. “Bob” Richards is the Minister of Finance, the Deputy Premier of Bermuda and the MP for Devonshire East(Constituency 11)

Grand designs: an artist's impression of the new airport

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Published February 23, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated February 23, 2017 at 7:21 am)

Taking Bermuda’s airport to the next level

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