Various infrastructure improvements at Mercedita International Airport in Ponce are continuing as scheduled, as the Ports Authority is investing $11.8 million in the third largest airport facility on the island.
For fiscal year 2018-2019, which ended on June 30, the Mercedita airport moved 210,687 passengers, representing a 17 percent increase over the 179,490 passengers registered during the previous fiscal year.
“The Ports Authority continues to optimize its facilities, in this case the Mercedita International Airport, to improve the level of service we provide there, both to passengers and the airlines, to continue contributing to the economic development of Ponce and the southern region of the island,” said Anthony Maceira Zayas, the agency’s executive director.
For her part, Ponce Mayor María “Mayita” Meléndez highlighted the role that Mercedita plays in the efforts led by the municipality to reactivate its economy after the passage of Hurricane Maria in Sept. 2017.
“Mercedita Airport has a fundamental role in these efforts. We are positioning the city internationally as a destination that has it all. We have a port that is receiving cruises, an airport that is being remodeled, hotels that are expanding their offer of rooms and many attractions that make us a bulwark for the economic and tourist development of the region,” Meléndez pointed out.
As part of the ongoing work, Ports is expanding the capacity of the departure lounge in Mercedita, with the aim of improving the level of service to airlines and passengers using the international airport.
“With the expectation of more flights that serve the southern part of our island, this project contemplates the expansion of the capacity of the boarding room, or 'hold room', with greater seating capacity that will be more comfortable, as well as increasing sanitary facilities and the commercial offering for passengers. This project also includes improvements to the security area,” said the head of Ports.
This particular project will cost an estimated $600,000, which will come from the agency’s own funds. This work is expected to be completed by the second quarter of 2020.
At the same time, Ports has finished the design and auction process on the permanent repairs to the airport’s terminal roof. This project will consist removing the existing waterproofing membrane, repairing the roof surface, replacing the drains and installing a new waterproofing system on the entire roof of the terminal.
This particular project, Maceira Zayas added, will cost $1.4 million, which will be allocated from funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Ports. This work should be completed by the end of this year.