Skyport has submitted a second minimum revenue certificate to the tune of more than $15 million to cover lost revenue at the LF Wade International Airport.
The announcement was made on Friday (October 30) by the Bermuda Airport Authority (BAA).
The funding will take the form of a further grant by the Government of Bermuda. The first payment cost taxpayers $5.7 million last month for losses incurred from April 1 to June 30 during the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic.
Minister of Transport, Lawrence Scott said: “This airport agreement continues to prove itself a bad deal for Bermuda. This payment further restricts the Government’s ability to help those Bermudians most in need during these challenging times.
“But make no mistake, the people are our priority, and we will continue to do all that we can to make this bad deal a better one for the people of Bermuda.
“There is not much wiggle room in the agreement, but we are trying to wiggle in the little bit that we do have,” he added.
“The airport authority provides oversight to make sure Skyport is held to every letter, every dot and semicolon in the project agreement. If there are any options, they are being explored.”
In the interim, he said it was still “too early to say” how much more the Government may be asked to pay out to Skyport in January to cover further lost income.
“We’re not happy with it,” said Mr Scott. “We believe it was a bad deal with the beginning. But we’re committed to making sure Bermuda gets the best of a bad deal.”
The controversial airport agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation and Aecon, CCC’s contractor was struck by the previous One Bermuda Alliance administration, led by then Minister of Finance Bob Richards.
Under this public private deal, Skyport is required to cover the design, finance and construction of the new terminal, in addition to its operation and maintenance over 30 years.
It was vehemently opposed by the Progressive Labour Party and led to the pepper spray protest after then Premier Michael Dunkley sneaked into the House of Assembly with his MPs to vote on the controversial contract without knowing the contents.
Meanwhile a spokesperson for Skyport said: “The payment is in relation to the 3rd quarter of 2020, where most of the impact due to Covid and the airport summer shutdown is felt.”
A minimum revenue guarantee baseline was set “to ensure that in the case of dramatic revenue declines or shock events, the airport has the ability to continue to operate and to service its external debt”.
“Revenue losses will far exceed any amounts paid under the minimum revenue guarantee and under no circumstances can minimum revenue guarantee funds be paid to the shareholder, Aecon,” she added.
“It is also important to highlight that throughout the course of the pandemic and shutdown, Aecon has continued its investments into Bermuda’s new terminal at full pace, and that both Aecon and Skyport maintained their full staff complements in construction and airport operations, as well as their ongoing social investments in the community.”