The Ports Authority (PA) reopened the regional airport Hermenegildo Ortiz Quiñones in Humacao, now available for general aviation, informed PA Executive Director Joel Pizá Batiz.
The official explained that on March 22, 2019, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) ordered the closure of the airport for safety reasons, since both the runway and the adjacent terrain presented problems for users, which, in some cases, had existed since the passage of Hurricane María in 2017.
"One month after receiving the closure order, the PA submitted to the FAA a corrective action plan with immediate, intermediate, and long-term actions to be able to reopen the airport. Corrective work began immediately, although the pandemic delayed some," Pizá Batiz said.
Apart from this plan, the reopening of the airport facility also involved the investment of more than $283,000 of the agency's own funds in capital improvements, drawing up a periodic maintenance and upkeep program for the airport, and developing a marketing plan for identifying additional entry opportunities for the agency.
Starting now, the facility will continue with general aviation operation and for the use of ultralight aircraft.
Capital improvements made to the Humacao Regional Airport include perimeter/security fence repair/installation work; deep cleaning and ground leveling using heavy equipment around the airport facility; runway lighting system repaired.
The drains were also cleaned and the land at the edge of the runway was cleared, avoiding wells and, consequently, the possible presence of birds in the area; a new windsock was installed; scarification of the end of the track was carried out, to then repave that section and make a new marking (signaling).
With the collaboration of the municipality of Humacao, the removal of debris and scrap metal was started in the runway protection zone (RPZ) adjacent to the airport property.
The municipality will also be removing the waste transfer station adjacent to the runway. In addition, debris left by María on the grounds of the facility was removed, Pizá Batiz added.
"We are very pleased to be able to reopen this airport facility. We appreciate the hard work of the Port staff to make this possible. We remain committed to the southeast region and to the aviation industry, which can once again enjoy this airport," he stated.
As informed, the PA will carry out a formal activity to reopen the facility at the end of this month, or at the beginning of next month.