The Federal Aviation Administration approved Gov. Wanda Vázquez’s request to redirect air traffic on the island to control the entry of possible carriers of the coronavirus COVID-19 to Puerto Rico.
“We’re grateful that the FAA has granted our request. This is historic as we are the first jurisdiction to receive tools from the federal air regulator to control air traffic during the global emergency of the Coronavirus COVID-19,” said Vázquez.
As part of the directive, every traveler who enters Puerto Rico will be placed on a 24/7 lockdown for 14 days. Individuals will not be allowed to participate in any activity that requires them to leave their hotels or homes, the governor said.
The FAA has approved the following concessions to the local government to redirect air traffic:
- All commercial airlines, passenger flights, such as Jet Blue, American Airlines, Delta, United, etc. will land only at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. They will no longer be able to land at Ponce and Aguadilla International Airports. This allows for a more centralized and efficient screening, government officials said.
- All chartered aircraft and general aviation — people who own small planes for recreational flights — coming from international destinations, may only land in Aguadilla, Isla Grande and LMM. Prior to this emergency, they could land at seven airports: Culebra, Vieques, Ceiba, Aguadilla, Ponce, LMM, and Isla Grande.
- All chartered and general aviation aircraft — owners of light aircraft for recreational flights — coming from the continental United States, will only be able to land in Aguadilla, Isla Grande, and LMM.
- Cargo flights are not restricted and are excluded from any request.
“This is the first time that this type of extraordinary request has been granted to a territory or a state,” said Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá.
“We thank the FAA Administrator Stephen Marshall Dickson and the U.S. Department of Transportation for responding to our request quickly. Given our island’s situation, this action is a fundamental part of our efforts to control the entry of possible cases of Coronavirus COVID-19 in Puerto Rico. These measures come into effect immediately,” he said.