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Bermudian jobs a priority for Skyport

Man at the helm: Aaron Adderley, president of Skyport, at last week’s launch(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

We were very pleased to launch Skyport this month, heralding in the long-expected beginning of a significant upgrade to the quality of Bermuda’s air travel experience at LF Wade International Airport. It is an honour to be a part of the creation of this new Bermudian company and to be appointed as its first president.

Skyport is now responsible for the airport’s operations, maintenance and commercial functions. Initially, the process of change may not seem obvious; many of the same faces will continue to work behind the scenes to keep the airport running smoothly. However, that is not to say that the Bermudian airport experience will not changing; it will ... and for the better.

Operating as a private company, Skyport will be more agile and efficient, and will have access to greater resources. These resources will allow us to diligently attend to conditions at the airport, not only for residents and visitors, but also for the dedicated men and women who work at LF Wade.

It should not come as a surprise to anyone who has visited the airport in the past few years that the existing passenger terminal is run-down, which means airport staff spend much of their time and energy patching things up and trying to make things look presentable. To be sure, the only real fix for these long-term issues is the new terminal, but with the ability to hire more staff and to implement a robust training programme, Skyport will work to best mitigate existing facility deficiencies until higher levels of service can be provided at the new terminal.

We are very pleased that approximately 80 per cent of the former Department of Airport Operations staff elected to transfer to Skyport, with a few others continuing to work for the Government of Bermuda. Skyport has 32 employees at present, 28 of them Bermudian, and we plan significantly to increase this number over the coming year. A formal recruiting campaign to fill open positions has begun. More staff will help to provide better service over the long term, while access to industry experts who can provide specialised insight and support when needed will further enhance the capabilities and strength of the airport operations team.

Skyport’s mandate is to modernise Bermuda’s airport infrastructure for staff and travellers alike, while creating a safer, more comfortable and pleasant passenger experience, the primary means for this, of course, being the opening of the new terminal. As part of Skyport’s responsibilities, we will be managing and co-ordinating the overall delivery of the Airport Redevelopment Project for the 30-year concession term.

Ground will be broken at Stone Crusher Corner for the new airport terminal next month, with construction expected to be completed in 2020. Over the long term, Skyport will create opportunities for local businesses through expanded retail, dining and service offerings — on par with those of the leading international airports. We will be better able to cater to all passengers, regardless of age or mobility, and provide barrier-free accessibility for everyone. Staff will also benefit from new facilities, including better office space, a staff lounge and a dedicated car park, as well as new services.

Skyport is already working hand-in-hand with airlines and the Bermuda Tourism Authority to increase the number of air visitors coming to Bermuda by developing exciting new routes and expanding on existing routes that will open new vacation options for Bermudians and support the island’s tourism and international business industries — widening the island’s horizon.

This is the beginning of a new era for Bermuda’s air travel experience. Together with our people and industry partners, we will be striving to help Bermuda to shine on the world stage.

• Aaron Adderley is the president of Skyport. He was formerly the general manager of airport operations at LF Wade International Airport

• 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 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