Aecon today [March 21] announced the launch of Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited, a special-purpose company which will “manage and coordinate the overall delivery of the redevelopment project for a 30-year concession term.”
“Skyport, a Bermudian company wholly-owned by Aecon Concessions, will take on the responsibility of operations, maintenance, and commercial functions for the L.F. Wade International Airport,” the announcement said.
“Additionally, Skyport will manage and coordinate the overall delivery of the redevelopment project for a 30-year concession term.”
“On completion of the new airport terminal, Skyport will operate and maintain it until 2047, when the airport will revert back to the Government of Bermuda.”
“Skyport is largely staffed by Bermudians, with approximately 80 per cent of airport staff at the Department of Airport Operations [DAO] having transferred to the new company, with others continuing on with the Government of Bermuda.
“Over time, there is expected to be an approximately 50 per cent increase in staff working at Skyport and the Bermuda Airport Authority, with over 30 new jobs anticipated in 2017, for which Skyport will be recruiting. To apply for job opportunities please email email@example.com.”
Aaron Adderley, President of Skyport, said: “The launch of Skyport marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter in Bermuda’s storied aviation history. It also marks the closing chapter of the DAO which has operated our Airport for over two decades.
“For those former DAO employees who have transitioned to Skyport, the new company and the new terminal afford us the opportunity to provide a better service and a better environment for our residents, visitors and our fellow airport employees alike.”
Steve Nackan, President, Aecon Concessions, said: “The launch of Skyport, is an integral step in the development of Bermuda’s modern new airport.
“Skyport has an incredible team behind it who will ensure that Bermuda’s airport leaves a lasting, positive impression with all who travel through it. Under Skyport, L.F. Wade International will be raised up to the highest international aviation standards.”
Minister of Tourism, Transport & Municipalities Michael Fahy said: “The creation of the new Bermudian company, Skyport, is the beginning of a new era in the operation of Bermuda’s only air terminal.
“It comes at a time when we are experiencing additional lift from our existing air carriers and an optimism for sustained growth in Bermuda tourism. This is an exciting time. We look forward to working with Skyport, as we together write the next chapter in the story of Bermuda aviation and tourism expansion.”
The 14-minute live video replay of today’s press conference below:
Skyport President Aaron Adderley’s full remarks
Good afternoon, Steve, ladies and gentlemen. It is a pleasure to be here today, to announce the launch of Skyport.
The creation of this new Bermudian company represents the beginning of a new era for Bermuda’s airport infrastructure and services.
From today, Skyport is responsible for the operation, maintenance, and commercial functions of L.F. Wade International Airport, and has taken these on from the former Department of Airport Operations [DAO] through a rather smooth transition.
Skyport will also manage and coordinate the overall delivery of the Airport Redevelopment Project for a 30-year concession term.
At the end of this 30-year period, Skyport’s lease with the Government will end and the day-to-day operation of the airport and its facilities will revert back to the Government of Bermuda.
While a few of the DAO team have opted for deployment elsewhere in Government or have joined the newly-established Bermuda Airport Authority, approximately 80 per cent of them have transferred to Skyport, many of whom are standing right here with me.
They have played an integral part in getting us here today. Whilst a lot of focus has been placed on terms; and conditions; and numbers; during the Redevelopment Project negotiations; it’s the people that have kept this operation going.
In the midst of anxiety and uncertainty as to when or even if this day would materialize, these men and women have persevered.
The challenge has often been great. Faced with limited staffing and financial means over the past few years, we were tested even further when asked to provide the resources necessary to support the process that has gotten us to this launch date; whilst still ensuring that the operation of this airport continued uninterrupted.
Though I’ve done so numerous times in private, it would be remiss of me not to use this opportunity to pause, and recognize these former DAO members for their accomplishments. Please join me and put your hands together for our new Skyport team [Applause].
As part of Skyport, these hardworking employees will continue to provide the same dedicated service as they always have.
But in addition to these faces behind me, who help account for the 28 out of 32 positions at Skyport currently filled by Bermudians, there will be plenty of new faces coming on board.
The creation of this new company affords us the opportunity and the means to grow and enhance our operation and bring our airport up to the highest international aviation standards.
We expect there will be more than 30 new jobs at Skyport, for which we have already begun to recruit for on-island.
We will now have access to greater resources which will allow us to provide a more efficient and comfortable experience for those travelling to and from Bermuda.
Skyport will allow us to modernise our services and the airport itself with the delivery of a new, state-of-the-art passenger terminal.
It will enable us to provide better conditions not only for our residents and our visitors, but also for the hundreds of men and women who work hard in often less than ideal conditions, to operate and maintain this airport for the travelling public.
But whilst much of the attention and anticipation will be centred around the new terminal, we have an existing terminal to manage and maintain over the next 3 ½ years, and it no doubt needs some work to get us through that interim period.
In the days and weeks ahead, we’ll be finalizing a plan, parts of which have already been enacted, to address some of the facility deficiencies while also helping to spruce up its appearance.
That being said, I think it’s important to manage expectations. Certainly, we’ll have to be smart and rather practical in allocating fiscal resources to a building that is soon to be replaced.
But we’re committed to striking the right balance between carrying out a much-needed refurbishment, yet doing so with an investment that is both prudent and financially feasible.
The new Skyport team also hopes to deliver exciting, new airline routes, building upon the successes that the DAO and its tourism industry partners have had over the years, like luring carriers such as JetBlue and Westjet to Bermuda for example.
Skyport will utilize its existing air service development resources while working with the Bermuda Tourism Authority and the Ministry of Tourism & Transport when meeting with new and incumbent airline partners to help bring about new flight services.
This past year has seen promising growth in overall airport passenger numbers and we are optimistic that Bermuda can continue this trend through the coming years.
While tourism and international business form vital parts of Bermuda’s economy and account for the majority of the airport’s passenger volume; we as residents like to travel as well.
L.F. Wade is the island’s welcome mat for each one of these travel market segments and we want to ensure that we are providing a facility that meets and hopefully one day exceeds their expectations, and that as a country, we can be proud of.
May God bless and watch over Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited. Thank you.
Aecon Concessions President Steve Nackan’s full remarks
Good afternoon Aaron, ladies and gentlemen. My name is Steve Nackan and I am the President of Aecon Concessions, the developer and financier of the Airport Project.
We are thrilled to be here today, to celebrate the launch of the new airport company, Bermuda Skyport Corporation – or Skyport.
Skyport is a Bermudian company, formed specifically to undertake the redevelopment and operation of Bermuda’s L.F. Wade International Airport.
The launch of Skyport is the culmination of over 2.5 years of hard work on the part of the Governments of Bermuda and Canada, the Aecon development team and the teams of advisors on all sides – but I need to recognize above all the hard working and dedicated team from the former Department of Airport Operations, who were extraordinarily patient while the agreements for the Project – and their very future – were being put together, and as the Project proceeded through its various early development phases.
From the very inception of our involvement in Bermuda, we at Aecon recognized the inherent talent and potential in the DAO team – that they in fact had the strongest vested interest in transforming the airport into one which would properly manifest the pride they all feel for their country and what it has to offer to the world. Consequently, we proceeded to build the company around those talented individuals. So above all today I want to recognize and thank the former DAO – and now Skyport team – for joining us, for believing that they could maximize their potential though this new venture, and of course for making the transition on March 16 such a resounding success.
What’s in a name? There is actually a lot of significance behind the name Skyport, as well as its warm Bermudian colour scheme and the hopeful symbolism of its soaring kite. As the ‘sky’ component of the name literally connotes, this is a company with an aviation focus, and ‘sky’ represents promise and limitless opportunity. The word ‘Sky-port’ also evokes a futuristic vision – and one of technological innovation. Blended together, we have a company that is not only contracted to deliver a very specific set of complex tasks, but one that defines itself with lofty, aspirational symbols – yet remains firmly anchored to its Bermudian core.
Ultimately, Skyport is a fusion – a partnership if you will – of local talent and the international infrastructure development expertise of Aecon.
At Aecon we have a long history of such successful partnerships, and we know that our partnership with Bermuda will be no different.
Which brings me to the notion of social partnership. As you may know, Aecon has a substantial financial commitment in Bermuda but we also believe that we have a social one.
It has been a great privilege to get to know Bermuda and its people, and we are honoured to have been able to support local events and initiatives, such as the Construction Association of Bermuda’s Kids in Construction competition.
Today I am happy to announce the launch of our Corporate Social Responsibility programme in Bermuda. Through Skyport we will support community outreach, education, health and sports, and important environmental sustainability initiatives. These steps are necessary given the significant footprint that the airport has in the community and how interwoven it is with the fabric of Bermuda’s economic landscape.
To that end, I am pleased to announce the first donation in this programme will be to the Family Center. Today we are making a $5,000 donation to support the Family Center’s important work helping families and children who suffer from problems such as abuse, neglect and other emotional challenges.
We want to create a lasting, positive effect in Bermuda – not only for Bermuda’s airport but also for its people, its businesses, and its future generations.
This programme will help us to deepen our investment in Bermuda through charitable investments and community engagement.
Lastly, my task today is not only to launch the company and its CSR programme, but also to pass the baton to Aaron Adderley, the new President of Skyport, who will lead our airport team and the Project into the future. Aaron will give you a few more details about what you can expect from the new company. Over to you, Aaron.