Aerostar invests $2M to increase air capacity at Luis Muñoz Marín Int’l Airport
Aerostar, operator of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (LMM), has created a $2.1 million fund to encourage airlines to increase the capacity of available seats for travelers to and from Puerto Rico’s main hub.
This initiative aims to ensure the inventory of seats assigned by airlines to San Juan in the face of competition from other destinations, contribute to managing the challenges facing the post-pandemic industry, and expand passenger flow, Aerostar President Jorge Hernández said.
Aerostar created the fund that will be distributed among the airlines that reach or exceed the volume of capacity published in 2021. That year, a record number of capacity was registered at the airport and 9.7 million passengers to or from the island, he said.
An increase in the number of airline seats may represent greater options for passengers to choose from timetables and flights and a wider frequency of trips, Hernández said, adding that this competition for funding could benefit travelers with better rates.
“By complementing the increase in passengers with other initiatives for Puerto Rico as a destination, the entire tourism sector will benefit. Visits to tourist areas, support for local businesses and attractions will increase,” he said.
“So, we’re taking proactive action that will help airlines overcome the challenges created by the pandemic and will allow the airport to compete for retention and increase in passengers at a time when other destinations are also taking steps,” said Hernández.
The flow of passengers was affected by the pandemic and the extreme health measures that airport and tourist facilities around the world had to adopt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Many airlines had to reduce flights and were affected staff shortages. Some have reduced their fleet capacity; others have not been able to recover the levels of staff necessary to handle the flights.
“As the pandemic is receding, some destinations that had lower activity have been reactivated and others are increasing their quotas. They’ve started to compete for air capacity, and Puerto Rico cannot be left behind,” he said. “For this reason, we adopted this proactive initiative that allows the airport to compete for the retention and capture of passengers with other destinations in the world.”
“There are several ways in which the number of seats can be increased. One is increasing the frequency of flights to the same destinations, and the other is making changes to the fleet, which would be equivalent to using planes with greater passenger capacity,” added Hernández.