Mercedita Int’l Airport in Ponce unveils $866K expansion
The Mercedita International Airport in Ponce inaugurated an $866,252 expansion to its boarding terminal, ahead of the resumption of commercial passenger flights for that facility and the Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla on April 1st.
The expansion allows the arrival and management of two planes simultaneously, while the investment also covered the remodeling of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), as well as improvements in the counter, waiting room, and bathroom areas, government officials said.
Additionally, commercial spaces, such as the car rental and concessionaire areas, have been relocated and new vehicles were delivered for the airport’s aviation business, Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel Pizá said, while explaining the remodelation phases that the areas underwent, as well as future expansions planned for the Mercerdita Airport.
“This project is part of a cumulative investment of $12.8 million in Mercedita Airport that has been carried out for the past four years. Among the projects we can mention the ‘Alpha’ Taxiway at a cost of $10.7 million and the underground drainage for the protection of the runways at a cost of $469,000,” Pizá said.
The agency also got the Airport Council International organization to accredit both airports with a health certification for the measures they have adopted to prevent the spread of COVID-19, he said.
“The Puerto Rico Health Department also certified that the airports are ready with the necessary equipment such as infrared cameras, labeling, disinfection stations, and the necessary plans to receive passengers and visitors,” Pizá said.
A second project is also currently underway, which consist of a new runway for the Rafael Hernández Airport International, at a cost of $135 million in federal funds, he said.
Gov. Pedro Pierluisi, who was on hand for the unveiling, said “These projects are very important, because they help us position our airports. This inauguration places the Mercedita Airport as one of the axes of the coordinated strategy that includes the port of Ponce and the area’s tax-free zone.”
During a press conference, Pierlusi reiterated his support of public-private alliance models for the privatization Puerto Rico’s regional airports. Their goal is to maximize the potential of each area by ensuring compliance with federal regulations, while attracting more cargo and passengers.
However, he said he does not approve the appointment of a single administrator for all airports. Instead, he would like for each airport to have its own administration. This way, they would focus the particular development strategies according to the assigned region.