One of the most enticing destinations in the North Atlantic is undergoing a renaissance, and its main airport is at the centre of everything. Bermuda Skyport Corporation describes a sunny outlook for the island paradise.
Warmed by Gulf Stream waters, the alluring island of Bermuda lies 700 miles off the coast of North Carolina. With its pink sand beaches, stunning scenery and legendary hospitality, it's easy to see why a new generation of travellers is being drawn to its pristine shores.
In 2016, Bermuda experienced a 17% increase in visitors arriving by air, with the strongest growth among 25-45-year-olds. Having more recently gained international attention as host of the world's premier sailing event, the 35th America's Cup, the island is boldly embarking on a host of exciting infrastructure developments, including the redevelopment of LF Wade International Airport.
First-time visitors to Bermuda may have found the old airport quaint, even charming, given its origins in the 1940s. However, the need for a 21st-century facility to meet the expectations of today's travellers has long been recognised.
Under a public private partnership (P3) agreement between the governments of Canada and Bermuda, a new company, Bermuda Skyport Corporation, was created to undertake the airport's redevelopment, including the construction of a new passenger terminal building, to be completed by 2020.
In March of this year, Skyport assumed responsibility for the existing airport's operations, maintenance and commercial functions. The Canadian Commercial Corporation, through subcontractors Aecon, Canada's leading infrastructure development company, will deliver the construction component of the project. Construction began on the new passenger terminal in April.
The new passenger terminal will be larger and more spacious than the existing facility, coming in at 277,300ft2. It has been designed with sustainability in mind and will make the most of Bermuda's natural light to create bright and open spaces, using skylights to augment the large windows. This will ensure that more than half of the enclosed building has access to natural light.
High-efficiency, long-life LED lighting will help Skyport save power, while state-of-the-art sensors and controls will be used throughout the terminal to ensure that energy isn't wasted.
Accessibility for those with mobility issues is challenging in the current terminal, as it requires passengers to use stairs to board and disembark aircraft. The new terminal has been designed to be completely barrier-free and will feature enclosed passenger boarding bridges to enhance the comfort and safety of all.
When the new terminal opens in 2020, users can also look forward to a more streamlined service at LF Wade International Airport, with modern amenities such as a full complement of check-in kiosks, immigration e-gates and more-efficient screening lanes and security. There will also be a greater variety of shopping, dining and passenger service options, including VIP lounges, concierge services and improved ground transport.
It is not only the airport that will improve the Bermuda air travel experience; Skyport is also working with the Bermuda Tourism Authority and airline partners to develop new routes from markets in North America and Europe, where demand for Bermuda as a destination is growing.
This renaissance of the island's tourism, highlighted by the its successful hosting of the America's Cup and 2017 Tall Ships Festival, and with more events to come, including the World Triathlon Series, is stimulating investment and development. New hotels, marinas, restaurants and attractions are opening, and the island has recently passed legislation enabling casinos to operate there.
Bermuda looks forward to welcoming passengers to its new airport terminal in 2020, and rolling out the red carpet to create a suitably positive first and lasting impression for all those visiting this beautiful island.