The arrival of jetBlue’s flight 939 last Saturday to the Rafael Hernández International Airport in the western town of Aguadilla established the new record of more 600,000 passengers in 2018, representing an economic injection of some $66 million for Aguadilla and the Porta del Sol Tourist region.
Gov. Ricardo Rosselló confirmed that the highest figure was established in 2016 with 519,751 passengers and an economic impact of $57.7 million for the region.
“These new figures mean an increase of about $8.9 million for the economy of Porta del Sol and Puerto Rico,” Rosselló said.
“I appreciate the work of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, which together with other agencies, has achieved what we show to the world today as an affordable, viable and developing tourist destination, ready to continue to receive the thousands of passengers that plan to visit,” the governor said.
Tourism Co. Executive Director Carla Campos said “we’re highly focused on continuing to cultivate our relationships and negotiations with airlines to stimulate the economy and boost a greater increase in services from Aguadilla and also from Ponce.”
“We’re confident that these efforts will contribute to enrich tourism and economic development beyond the metropolitan area,” she said.
The Tourism Co. arranged a welcome reception for the jetBlue flight that arrived from John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, complete with typical “vejigantes” and “cabezudos,” who danced to the beat of local music, celebrating the numbers reached to close 2018 at the Rafael Hernández airport.
Meanwhile, Ports Authority Executive Director Anthony Maceira-Zayas said beating the prior record at the airport was possible due “to the support of jetBlue, United and Spirit airlines, which have increased their flight frequencies and destinations in the second international airport that moves the most passengers annually on the island.”
“We continue to implement the governor’s public policy to boost the vistor’s economy and turn Puerto Rico into a multiport destination,” he said.
Spirit began a direct route from Aguadilla to Orlando during 2018 and increased the frequency to Fort Lauderdale to two daily flights. JetBlue increased its frequencies during this year to two daily flights per destination (Orlando, New York and Fort Lauderdale.)