Aerostar Airport Holdings, operators of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, on Thursday marked the facility’s 60th anniversary, emphasizing its important role in Puerto Rico’s development, infrastructure and competitiveness.
“For six decades, the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport has been present in the history, culture and identity of every Puerto Rican. Just as Luis Muñoz Marín foreshadowed during his inaugural speech of these facilities, the airport has become the center of intercontinental traffic that links North and South America,” said Aerostar Airport Holdings CEO Agustín Arellano, coinciding with the words of the island’s first elected governor when he said “there are other international airports but none more so than this one.”
The anniversary ceremony sought to honor those responsible for the visionary project, the millions of passengers who have made the airport the largest in the Caribbean, the airlines for their support and loyalty during these six decades and all Puerto Ricans who have protected the airport as one of the island’s most important assets.
“The projects have their process, their initiation, development and completion. We go back to when the construction of this airport was announced in 1946, and 1955 when its construction was culminated, as moments that mark the transformational reality that the Puerto Rico lived then,” said Gov. Alejandro García-Padilla, who was on hand for the event.
“I urge you to see this renovation of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport as part of what, a long time from now, other generations will see as the transformation Puerto Rico underwent to solve its problems of today,” he said during his message to a group of invitees.
The air transportation hub in Carolina has seen its share of overhauls over the years.
“The control tower was modernized and its infrastructure expanded to accommodate new airlines that made Puerto Rico an essential air connection for both local and foreign tourism, as well as international trade,” said Carolina Mayor José Carlos Aponte.
“The island’s strategic location, at the center of the American hemisphere, became a must stop and port for tourists. These 60 years have given us the opportunity to unite families through air transportation, to create jobs and do positive things for our island’s economic development,” he said.
The airport was government-run until two years ago, when through a public-private partnership, its operation was turned over to Aerostar Airport Holdings. Since then, the private company has been making significant improvements to the facility that last year received about 8 million passengers.
As part of the ceremony, which was also attended by Tourism Company Executive Director Ingrid Rivera and Ports Authority Executive Director Ingrid Colberg, airport officials recognized Delta Air Lines the facility’s first tenant and the only carrier to have operated continuously since the airport opened in 1955.
“Delta is proud to be an important part of Puerto Rico´s history; our planes have transported intellectuals, politicians, musicians, artists, sports figures, tourists and the business people that fuel the island’s economic development,” said José Antonio Torres, Delta´s general manager for Central America and Delta’s representative at the ceremony.
“We congratulate the airport´s authorities for this milestone; Delta reinforces its commitment to continue working with them to provide the best service to Puerto Rican travelers and those who come to visit this beautiful Caribbean destination,” he said.