Airport Radar Installation Project Complete

August 18, 2013

The US Federal Aviation Administration [FAA] has completed the installation of its new long range radar at the L.F. Wade International Airport after overcoming some unforeseen challenges.

The on-going project which was originally set to have been completed in July had been pushed back due to scheduling and technical issues surrounding the certification of the radar; and the availability of additional replacement parts that are required to complete the project, the Government said.

According to Airport General Manager, Aaron Adderley, Bermuda will now have enhanced, more modernised radar capability that will increase the area of surveillance from 180 miles to 220 miles.

“This will assist the FAA in providing safer and more efficient air traffic management services for Bermuda-bound and en route traffic over the north Atlantic,” said Mr. Adderley.

While the new radar represents a significant upgrade, the time taken by the FAA to complete its installation left some real challenges for Bermuda to overcome.

Minister of Tourism Development and Transport, Shawn Crockwell, said that there were no options available to the Government and Airport Operations officials to expedite its completion.

“The radar is owned by the US and whilst Bermuda has a partner agreement in place whereby we provide technical maintenance support for FAA assets at the airport, for a large scale project like this, the FAA has to provide its own manpower and resources. This essentially means that we are subject to their timetable,” said Mr. Crockwell.

He added that Bermudian technicians from BAS-Serco and local contractors, B&B Fibre Tech, worked extremely long hours and were able to complete Bermuda’s portion of the project on schedule.

Government first entered into a Memorandum of Cooperation agreement with the FAA in 1995 when the airport was handed over to Bermuda by the departing U.S. Navy.

The agreement calls for the FAA to place its radar and other equipment at L.F. Wade and in return, Bermuda Airport Operations provides the radar surveillance data to FAA Air Traffic Controllers based in New York, who then provide air traffic management services to aircraft flying through Bermuda’s airspace.

While celebrating the fact that the new radar represents the most significant upgrade to the FAA’s on-Island equipment, Mr. Crockwell was equally satisfied that the Airport could now return to normal operations.

“While the work has been taking place over the past few months, the Airport has been operating under standard, non-radar procedures which call for greater time separation between flights,” he said.

“This led to several departure delays which resulted in missed flight connections for some passengers. This is not good. We want to extend our apologies to those affected. Certainly, we would have liked to have returned to normal operations a lot sooner, ” said Mr. Crockwell.

In an effort to minimise the delays for passengers travelling commercial, Mr. Adderley advised that Airport officials had to limit corporate and private jet flights during the peak afternoon period, something they had hoped to avoid.

“The private aviation community and our airline partners have been very patient and understanding with the amount of time this project has taken and they appreciate that it was beyond our control,” said Mr. Adderley.

Mr. Crockwell added that FAA officials were on-Island earlier this month meeting with Airport Operations to formally discuss the further enhancement of the partnership agreement and to identify ways that would help avoid delays in future FAA-led projects.

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Comments (6)

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  1. IB says:

    Finally. But why did they have to do it in the middle of summer at the peak period? Why not do it in January when there are just 6 flights a day?

    • Soldier says:

      It’s completed, why biatcchhh and complain. It’s done. Thank God everything went safe and no plane crashes…. Do people ever think positive, damn…… If it was done in winter you’ll be like why not do it in summer. Can’t please you all….. lol

    • Nuffin but da Truth says:

      because it BROKE smuck!

      • Eye In "D" Sky says:

        How about a piece of humble pie?? All that infrastructure and in did not cost Bermuda a dime!
        Ungrateful schmucks!

  2. Observer says:

    When will we see the graphics on the Bermuda weather site?

  3. Accurate says:

    Observer – this radar is not the Doppler Radar that the BWS uses. Just a coincidence that both were out at the same time. This aircraft tracking radar has been out of service since January and will be gladly welcomed back in service by the aviation community with a big sigh of relief.