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Ports: P.R. regional airport traffic flying high in Fiscal ’16

The José Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba reported a 13% jump in passenger traffic year-over-year in Fiscal 2016.

The José Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba reported a 13% jump in passenger traffic year-over-year in Fiscal 2016.

More than 1 million passengers passed through Puerto Rico’s regional airports in Fiscal 2016, representing the highest figure achieved by the island’s Air System Network in the last five years, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority said Thursday.

Ingrid C. Colberg-Rodríguez, Ports Authority executive director said the 1.08 million passengers that made their way through five airports throughout the island reflects an increase of 86,516 passengers more than those on record for Fiscal 2015, or an 8.7 percent jump. She attributed the increase in passenger traffic to the agency’s strategic plan for the development of aerial installations.

“The structured development and promotion plan for our regional airports has been successful. Efforts to improve, promote and make each of the airports more competitive have yielded very favorable results, as evidenced by the biggest increase in passenger movement in five years,” she said.

“In addition, the emphasis we have given to safety, acquisition of new equipment for air rescue and trainings to the staff, the commercial promotion of our facilities, the arrival of new businesses and concessions, as well as the expansion of the range of services provided by the airline and aerospace industries, have been crucial for companies to add routes, expand the frequency of flights and establish operations in our airports,” said Colberg-Rodríguez.

The airport showing the highest jump in passenger traffic was the Rafael Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, with a 17 percent increase. The facility recorded 466,518 passengers for the fiscal year ended June 30, compared to 398,253 for Fiscal 2015, representing an increase of 68,365 passengers.

On the other side of the island, the José Aponte de la Torre Airport in Ceiba recorded 95,107 passengers for Fiscal 2016, versus the 84,163 reported for the previous fiscal year. This represents an increase of 10,944 passengers, or 13 percent.

At the island municipality of Culebra, the Benjamín Rivera Noriega Airport registered 82,767 passengers, versus the 75,998 recorded last year, representing an increase of 6,769 passengers, or 9 percent.

The Mercedita Airport in recorded 215,165 passengers in Fiscal 2016, versus the 201.279 passengers that used the facility over the same 12-month period in 2015, reflecting an increase of 13,886 passengers, or 7 percent.

Finally, the Fernando L. Ribas Dominicci Airport in Isla Grande recorded 52,398 passengers in Fiscal 2016, versus 50,632 the previous comparative year. This represents an increase of 1,766 passengers, or a 3 percent jump, Ports Authority numbers showed.

Colberg-Rodríguez said other regional general aviation operations in Arecibo and Humacao also reflected increased passenger traffic, with jumps of 43 percent and 6 percent, respectively.

“The Ports Authority will continue identifying resources, promoting the use of air facilities and improving the infrastructure of regional airports for the service and the needs of our passengers,” she said.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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