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Tue, Jul 18, 2006

Historic Puerto Rico GA Airport Saved!

Isla Grande Economic Analysis Sways Politicos

by ANN Correspondent Juan Jimenez

The Ports Authority of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States, has announced that Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila has "welcomed and accepted the recommendation to allow the Fernando Ribas Dominicci Airport (TJIG) to remain open," said the agency's executive director, Fernando Bonilla.

The Governor attended a presentation where he was shown three possible options for the future of the airport and the valuable waterfront property in which it is located, according to El Nuevo Dia. The options were to relocate the airport operations to a site outside the San Juan metropolitan area, close the airport or leave it in place.

"After evaluating the viability of the proposals, the economic impact and the benefits to the population, the Ports Authority Director and its Board formally recommended to maintain the current location", said the press release.

According to Mr. Bonilla, good reasons exist for Ribas Dominicci airport to remain open.

"This airport is the main point of aerial access for the residents of the Vieques and Culebra islands travelling to/from San Juan. In addition, it is the primary reliever for Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) for general aviation operations, a fact that will help to prolong the latter's service life. If we clear Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport of general aviation traffic and relocate cargo operations to airports in Aguadilla and Ceiba, we could indefinitely prolong the service life of our main airport", added the press release.

Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport was renamed from its original title of Isla Grande Airport in honor of the Puerto Rican US Air Force F-111F pilot who perished during Operation El Dorado Canyon -- the April 15, 1986 air raid on Libya. The facility represents a significant source of income for the metropolitan zone.

In fiscal year 2005 the airport moved an estimated 90,057 passengers, an increase of 69% over the 2004 numbers. Its contribution to the local economy in monetary terms has been pegged at $30 million per year, and the airport supports 400 direct and 1,300 indirect jobs. It is also located immediately next to the brand new Puerto Rico Convention Center, the most advanced facility of its kind in the Caribbean.

FMI: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isla_Grande_Airport

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