Bermuda International Airport

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L.F. Wade International Airport
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Territory Bermuda
Island [[St David's Island]]
Owner Government of Bermuda
Operator Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited
Location 32°21’59"N, 64°41’12"W

Bermuda International Airport, officially now named L.F. Wade International Airport ((IATA: BDA, ICAO: TXKF)), is the sole airport serving Bermuda. It is located in the parish of St George's and is 6 nautical miles north-east of Bermuda's capital, Hamilton. In 2016, the airport handled about 402,925 passengers, up 5.6% from 2006.[1]

The airport has one passenger terminal, one cargo terminal, eight aircraft stands and can support all aircraft sizes up to and including the Airbus A380. Currently, seven airlines operate seasonal or year-round scheduled services to Bermuda Airport from Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.


The airfield was constructed during the Second World War for use as 'Kindley Field', a joint base for the Royal Air force and the United States Army Air Forces. The RAF forces in Bermuda were withdrawn at the end of the War. The local RAF Commander, however, stayed on, on loan to the Bermuda Government. He converted the RAF facilities into the Civil Air Terminal, operated by the local government.

When the pre-war airport, a flying boat facility on Darrell's Island, closed in 1948, Bermuda's air routes were taken over by land planes operating through Kindley Field. By then it was operated by the United States Air Force, as Kindley Air Force Base.

In 1970, the field was transferred to the United States Navy, which operated it as 'US Naval Air Station, Bermuda' until 1995. The American Navy terminated its 99-year lease and transferred the field to the Bermuda Government. It now operates the airport as part of the Ministry of Tourism & Transport.

The US Navy was not required to meet international civil air standards, despite the operation of civil airlines to the base. The Bermuda Government, however, was required to meet these standards very quickly on assuming control, and at some expense. This involved changes to the airfield lighting, erecting new fences, levelling anything over a certain height and within a certain distance of the runway (including the former base commander's residence, and the hill it stood on), and other changes.

The airport is at the west of St. David's Island, and to the south of Ferry Reach. This places it in the East End of the archipelago, several miles from the capital, Hamilton.

The airfield was built between 1941 and 1943 by levelling Long Bird Island and several smaller islands, and filling in the waterways with reclaimed land between them and St. David's Island. This created a landmass contiguous with St. David's. The airfield is typically described as being in, or on, St. David's. The field originally had three runways, but only the longest is still in use. One of the others, most of which is on a narrow peninsula jutting into Castle Harbour, has been blocked by munitions bunkers that were built at the harbour end.

Additional bunkers are on the west side of the peninsula, which the US Navy had referred to as the Weapons Pier. Airport workers, today, refer to it as The Finger. The other former runway is today a taxiway to connect aprons one and two to the active runway, and the taxiway which parallels it. This was last used as a runway in 1978. It has its own former taxiway paralleling it, which now serves as a dispersal area for visiting aircraft.

On 16 March 2017, the Government of Bermuda signed an agreement with the Canadian Commercial Corporation, granting Skyport a 30-year concession to manage and operate the airport.


On 16 April 2007 the airport was renamed as "L.F. Wade International Airport" in honour of L. Frederick Wade, father of L. Frederick Wade, Jr, who was a leader of the incumbent governing party (the Progressive Labour Party) when it was in opposition.[2] The name was criticised by the opposition United Bermuda Party for being politically biased.[3]

Current operations

In 2017, the airport handled almost five hundred thousand passengers. Airline flight arrivals and departures usually peak June – August summer season. It has received high marks in passenger satisfaction surveys, placing first among North American airports in the "Under 15 million passengers" category in 2003 and fourth worldwide in its size category, according to the global airport monitor report that year.[4] Cited were courtesy of staff, security, and check-in facilities.

The former NATO hangar built in the early 1990s is now used for the airport's growing corporate jet traffic. Because of Bermuda's considerable distance from the nearest land mass, the airport's use by General Aviation aircraft is limited to jets and long-range turboprops. Only jet fuel is available.

The airport offers US Customs and Immigration preclearance, which means US-bound passengers clear Customs in Bermuda; flights arriving in the US from Bermuda are thus treated as domestic flights.

Air traffic control service is provided by CI2 Aviation under contract to the Department of Airport Operations (DAO). The control tower is located on the north side of the airport (not to be confused with the old tower located at the terminal building) and provides service for most of the day and night. Approach, departure and en route traffic control in the surrounding Oceanic Sector is provided by New York Air Route Traffic Control Center (ZNY), under an agreement between the US Government's Federal Aviation Administration and the United Kingdom. The BDA tower controller and ZNY center controller are always in close contact. Remote radio transmitters and air traffic radar coverage at the airport also link Bermuda and New York Center.

A modern Doppler Weather radar with a 150-mile range was built by the DAO in 2005. Navaids at the airport, such as the Instrument Landing System (ILS) and VOR (VHF omnidirectional range), are owned by the DAO but maintained by BAS-Serco.

The airport was a United States government NASA Space Shuttle launch abort site.[5] It was only able to be used during low and mid inclination launches.

A small portion of the south-east corner of the airport was transformed in the 1990s into Bermuda Motorsports Park.

From March 2017, Bermuda Skyport Corporation Limited will manage and operate L.F. Wade International. The 30 year airport concession includes construction of a new passenger terminal, to be completed in 2020.

Outside links