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Airport plans to open more shops with public access

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A few of the products offered to patrons at the LF Wade International Airport terminal (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

A new convenience store scheduled to open next month on the ground level of the LF Wade International Airport will be open to everyone, including non-passengers and airport staff.

According to Skyport commercial director Ken Hassard, Skyport wanted to open the store when the new terminal first opened in December 2020, but non-passengers were not allowed inside the terminal then.

The Somers Isles Trading Company, which was awarded the airport’s retail contract in 2020, will operate the new store, which will feature several unique products from its brand Love Bermuda as well as typical convenience store items.

Mr Hassard said: “Most retail business in an airport is conducted in the [upstairs] departures lounge, where people have the most dwell time, but non-passengers will be able to purchase some of Love Bermuda’s 2,000 plus products in the new store, many of which are not found or sold anywhere else on the island.”

Non-passengers can also enjoy the airport’s ground level bar and grill, the Whistling Frog, and its outdoor seating area, which features a pool table and putting green. New furniture for the area is scheduled to arrive soon.

According to Mr Hassard, the ground level terrace was designed for people who had to spend several hours at the airport.

“People have not been using the airport as a destination in itself yet, so we're getting our food and beverage guys, Dennie O’Connor and Jennifer Ysseldyke, to plan events out here at night,” he said. “There will be DJs, flashing lights and people driving by will be intrigued.”

The outside terrace on the ground level of the LF Wade International Airport terminal, where a wedding will be held later this month. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

This area is starting to get booked for events. A CEO association recently held an event there and a wedding is scheduled there for later this month.

Non-passengers may be able to pre-book the prime class lounges in the US and International departure areas in the future, but this will be logistically challenging, because it would have to be during a time of day when no flights are scheduled.

The International Departures lounge at the LF Wade International Airport, which could be booked by non-passengers in the future. (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

There are also plans to further develop the arrivals hall, but the Ministry of Health occupies much of that space at the moment for coronavirus testing and travel authorisation review. Skyport has renewed the ministry’s lease for the space until the end of this year.

A welcome area, a bar and lounge and a retail shop are all planned for the arrivals hall.

Mr Hassard explained: “Arrivals meeters and greeters shops sell things like flowers, balloons, toys for children and candy. This area will also be open to non-passengers.”

A reception area and lounge is also planned for the VIP arrivals space, which is reserved for passengers who pre-booked the airport’s concierge service, which allows them to be fast tracked while both entering and leaving the airport.

Retail, concession and lounges make up around 10 per cent of the airport’s 288,000 square foot space. Retail space alone totals around 10,000 square feet, 80 per cent of which has been built.

“The retail budget we were given was around $6 million for what is being done so far and they now occupy all of the space we have except for arrivals hall,” Mr Hassard said.

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Published September 08, 2022 at 7:55 am (Updated September 08, 2022 at 7:55 am)

Airport plans to open more shops with public access

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