Minister criticises Skyport over rise in airport fees
An announcement about increased airport fees played a part in “relegating” Bermuda to a seasonal destination, the Minister of Transport claimed yesterday.
Lawrence Scott added that it is thought the island’s rates are among the highest in the world.
But he told the House of Assembly that an air service plan suggested up to 650,000 air passengers could travel through the airport in 2022-23.
Mr Scott said: “Covid is not the only challenge this Government faces for economic recovery, given that Skyport has decided that now is the best time to implement a 6.2 per cent increase in regulated airport fees.
“This government believes the premature announcement of such an increase has contributed to airlines relegating Bermuda to a seasonal destination.
“Industry experts have stated that this increase places Bermuda’s passenger fees among the highest in the world.
“It is a shame that we are locked into this contract with Skyport as it hinders our competitive advantage in addition to the millions of dollars paid for minimum regulated revenue guarantees and now increased cost for airlines doing business in Bermuda.”
JetBlue announced its decision last month to make the island a summer-only destination from later this year.
Mr Scott told MPs: “Our Air Service Development Strategy positions Bermuda to welcome an estimated 500,000 to 650,000 travellers through the LF Wade International Airport over the 2022-23 fiscal year.”
A ministry spokeswoman said later that the figures were “projections provided by Skyport” and included predicted arriving and departing passenger numbers.
Mr Scott said that Bermuda has 177 cruise calls projected for 2022, delivering 280,000 cruise passengers and an estimated economic impact of $122 million.
He added: “Our cruise line partners and their passengers are eager to return to Bermuda, and industry analysts estimate a stronger comeback than our forecast.”
Mr Scott explained that changes to border procedures will include the reduction of the Travel Authorisation form fee to $40 and the elimination of any Covid-19 testing on the island for visitors with up-to-date vaccinations.
He said: “Our cruise line partners have diverse clientele; some focus on family vacations while others cater to adults.
“Our strategy allows Bermuda to remain agile so we can quickly respond to the seemingly ever-changing landscape within the industry, thus allowing us to remain competitive.”
· To read the minister’s statement in full, click on the PDF under “Related Media”.