As part of the precautionary measures that the Puerto Rico Ports Authority is taking to prevent the COVID-19 coronavirus at the Ponce and Aguadilla international airports, all public areas will be disinfected before and after each flight, both domestic and international, the agency’s Interim Executive Director Joel A. Pizá-Batiz confirmed.
“Although we cannot prohibit the entry of flights to our airports because it is an occupied field and regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, the Ports Authority can take more rigorous measures to keep our facilities as clean as possible to prevent the arrival of the coronavirus COVID-19 to the island,” said Pizá-Batiz.
The Mercedita International Airport in Ponce and the Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla, which are government-owned and operated, will be monitored.
Pizá-Batiz explained that before the arrival of each flight, and after leaving the terminal, Ports Authority staff will be disinfecting all public areas, including counters, jet bridges, the lobby, the baggage claim area, bathrooms, windows and doors, among other areas.
Currently, Mercedita only receives two daily domestic flights nightly from JetBlue, one from Orlando and the other from New York.
Meanwhile, the Rafael Hernández Airport receives three daily domestic flights operated by JetBlue from New York, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale; Spirit Airlines has two daily domestic flights to Orlando and Fort Lauderdale; and United Airlines has a daily domestic flight to Newark.
In addition, the Aguadilla airport receives international flights from the Dominican Republic, operated by Prinair airline, every Monday and Friday.
Pizá-Batiz said the agency recently installed educational posters, in both English and Spanish, in all airport bathrooms, about the coronavirus and prevention methods, as well as the correct way to wash hands.
Additionally, Ports staff will ensure that there is enough antibacterial soap and paper towels in all bathrooms, he said.
Meanwhile, private companies, contracted by the airlines, are responsible for cleaning the aircraft before and after each flight at the two airports, he added.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is responsible for screening passengers on international flights upon arrival on the island. In turn, the Transportation Security Administration and the airlines are responsible for vetting passengers boarding domestic flights before leaving the island.
“The safety of passengers, Ports Authority employees and airlines are our highest priority. We will do everything in our power to keep the public areas of these two airports as clean as possible, to minimize any possible contagion,” Pizá-Batiz said.