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Skyport: Near $400m airport construction cost was budgeted

The first aircraft to use the new LF Wade International Airport terminal- Delta flight 615 from New York, parks on Wednesday morning.(Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The total cost of the new airport project reached almost $400 million - but airport operators Skyport said the expenditure was included in the original plan.

A Skyport spokeswoman said the construction contract price for the new terminal was $274.4 million, but the total capital cost of the project - mentioned by speakers at the ribbon-cutting on Wednesday - was higher.

And she said the additional costs, the result of ancillary expenditure, would have no impact on the public purse.

The spokeswoman said: “The total capital cost of the project to date is $400 million which includes development costs, insurance, capitalised interest on loans during the 45 month construction period, various smaller capital costs ancillary to the base construction work, fees and expenses of advisers, consultants, lender consultants and others, and cost of the operational readiness and transfer plans, trials and activities.

“This is typical for large, privately financed infrastructure projects, even more so with airport redevelopments.”

“These costs have no implications for Government or the taxpayer. All of these costs remain part of the original Aecon/Skyport financial plan and are fully funded by the private investments put together by Aecon.”

She added that an opening event for the L Frederick Wade Airport had been scheduled to be held on December 4 with David Burt, the Premier, and Lawrence Scott, the Minister of Transport, invited to attend.

But the spokeswoman said, because of the jump in coronavirus infections, it was decided to postpone the celebration in favour of a “small ribbon cutting ceremony” on Wednesday.

The spokeswoman added the move was made to limit the number of people in attendance.

She said: “Skyport invited the Government to participate via the Bermuda Airport Authority and were pleased with attendance and speeches by Lovitta Foggo, chairwoman of the BAA, and Ianthia Simmons Wade, the widow of L Frederick Wade.”

Mrs Simmons Wade yesterday criticised the project she had helped to open a day earlier.

She said that she attended because it was named after her late husband.

But she added: “Notwithstanding my personal connection to the airport terminal, the reality is that this new airport contract is a bad deal for Bermudians brokered by the OBA Government.”

She said the deal with Skyport meant Bermudian taxpayers had already paid $21 million in revenue guarantees.

Ms Simmons Wade, a Progressive Labour Party senator, added that she was also reminded of the December 2016 protests, when demonstrators shut down the House of Assembly and police pepper sprayed the crowd after it refused to disperse.

She said: “Today, I am not thinking of the airport, instead, I reflect on those protesters who on December 2, 2016 marched to protect Bermudian interests.

“I recall the terror in the eyes of our seniors and also the people, united, locking arms to stand up against this bad deal.”

“It is a travesty that the Bermudian people are left to hold the bag due to a bad airport deal brokered by the OBA Government.

“Yesterday was a harsh reminder of the bad Governance of the OBA - they failed the Bermudian people.”

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Published December 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm (Updated December 11, 2020 at 4:00 pm)

Skyport: Near $400m airport construction cost was budgeted

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