World Class Facility
When the brand new L.F. Wade International Airport in Bermuda celebrated its grand opening in 2020, the moment was more than a ribbon cutting: it signaled a bright new future for the residents of the island. The occasion was also a proud moment for Aecon who won the international contract in partnership with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, as well as with the support of Trade Commissioner Service and Export Development Canada (EDC).
Disrupted by COVID
Regrettably, even though the new airport was ready and open for business, the global COVID-19 pandemic complicated travellers’ journey to the island.
But by the spring of 2022, Bermuda had seen record-low COVID-19 cases and the government decided to drop its quarantine requirements for vaccinated tourists.
The change in government policy not only made easier for the airport to welcome visitors from around the world, but it also opened-up a key pillar of the country’s post-pandemic recovery.
Vital Economic Gateway
With its idyllic location in the Caribbean, tourism is a significant part of Bermuda’s economy and the airport represents a critical infrastructure in attracting visitors to the island.
The former airport in Bermuda was in urgent need of help and re-construction. The structure was crumbling, and vulnerable to further damage caused by hurricanes and tropical storms.
Like many small airports, it also struggled to attract private sector investment to finance a major capital redevelopment.
Built through G2G
Aecon saw a unique opportunity to bring Canadian expertise and technology to the Government of Bermuda and the Bermuda Airport Authority. The company, which is well-versed in climate change adaptation and infrastructure resiliency, knew it could construct a world-class airport that could withstand environmental changes for decades to come – all while delivering on time and on budget.
But Aecon also wanted to bring more added value to its proposal, and opted for CCC’s government to government (G2G) contracting approach to facilitate the deal.
“When Aecon decided to work with CCC, it gave them a competitive edge over other bidders,” says Kim Douglas, VP of Business Development and Marketing for CCC.
While CCC worked directly with the Government of Bermuda on the project, Aecon partnered with its special purpose Bermudian company, Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited, to develop, finance, design, build, operate and maintain Bermuda’s new airport.
Biggest P3 in Bermuda’s history
In 2017, Aecon officially broke ground on the $300-million project, which also became the largest public-private partnership (P3) infrastructure deal in Bermuda’s history.
“There were many factors that made the deal attractive to private capital,” said Kim Douglas, CCC’s Vice-President of Business Development and Marketing. “It met an urgent need, and it was a co-created solution. We worked extensively with the Government of Bermuda to develop the project and so the acquisition time was reduced to two to three years. In addition, Aecon had successfully delivered over 20 P3 projects, and the financial model was verified by multiple firms.”
The project also made great economic and social impacts on the Bermudian people. Creating local jobs was a top priority throughout the project, and Aecon partnered with the government agency Workforce Development to ensure that as many Bermudians as possible were trained and had job skills to work on the project.
Owned by Bermudians
Bermudians were directly involved in building the airport. Sixty per cent of Aecon’s construction workers on the ground were Bermudian – meaning 885 Bermudians worked on the terminal throughout its redevelopment for a total of 1.6 million manhours.
Skyport, which led the key renovations of the existing terminal and will operate and maintain the airport until 2047, also has a workforce that is 90 per cent Bermudian. Additionally, the project engaged 400 Bermuda-based companies, vendors and suppliers.
The new terminal now showcases Bermuda’s unique identity – which is a great reflection of the local Bermudian employees who worked on its construction. At the same time, Aecon was able to bring Canadian expertise and technology to the project – featuring Canadian state-of-the-art energy and water efficiency technologies. The new terminal is adapted to climate change and can withstand windspeeds of 277 kilometres an hour – which is equivalent to a Category 5 hurricane.
Award winning facility
Today, the L.F. Wade International Airport is a 288,000 square-foot world-class facility that includes a larger, state-of-the-art airport terminal with improved traffic flow – as well as upgrades to its facilities and retail spaces.
“This project has greatly transformed Bermuda’s aviation infrastructure and its airport service offering,” said Ms. Douglas, adding that the airport also now has increased capacity for international flights.
This new facility has not gone unnoticed.
In 2021, The Canadian Council for Public-Private Partnerships (CCPPP) awarded Aecon the prestigious Gold Award for Infrastructure (International) for the Bermuda International Airport Redevelopment Project. The company was among only five winners of the 2021 National Awards for Innovation and Excellence in Public-Private Partnerships – which was a moment of great pride for CCC.
In addition, the L.F. Wade International was voted the Best Airport of its Size in the Latin America and Caribbean region, as part of the 2022 Airport Council International [ACI] World Airport Service Quality [ASQ] Awards.
Delivering Canada to the world
CCC’s G2G contract in Bermuda gave Aecon a competitive advantage. CCC’s commercial advocacy and collaborative project development helped improve access to government procurement decision-makers. The G2G approach also sped up the sales process, and minimized the political, business and payment risks.
For more information on the G2G advantage, consult our International Prime Contractor (IPC) program.