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
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
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.