Late-night Flights to Bermuda Now Come at a High Price

 - July 5, 2011, 10:30 AM

As of last Wednesday, Bermuda L.F. Wade International Airport will be closed to general aviation and non-scheduled commercial traffic between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. The airport, which recently obtained civil certification, formerly received infrastructure support from the U.S. military for 24/7 ATC operations and aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF). While the airport authority has determined that scheduled traffic did not warrant the expense of maintaining those services 24 hours a day, operational compliance regulations demand that those services be present during the hours when the airport is open. GA aircraft seeking to land or take off after hours can file a request in advance with the department of airport operations for ATC and ARFF support, which will cost $10,000. During the unmanned hours, ATC control into and out of Bermuda is covered by New York Center, and declared emergency landings, medevac flights and search-and-rescue operations will not be subject to a fee. While the airport had closed at 11 p.m. in the past, the use of aircraft radio-controlled airfield lighting had allowed for late-night arrivals. But according to Wendell Burchall, the airport’s manager of maintenance and engineering, some operators had abused the system by landing without declaring an emergency or requesting ARFF.