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Port Authority Beginning Work On Both Airports

The V.I. Port Authority is beginning millions of dollars of renovations at both V.I. airports, according to the Authority.

VIPA directed its contractor Custom Builders, to begin renovating the baggage claim area of the Cyril E. King International Airport Terminal on St. Thomas. The work began on Monday and will take about 10 months to complete.

In a statement, VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe said that new restrooms, improvements to the restaurant area and new terrazzo flooring are some of the upgrades included in the project scope. The renovations also include splitting one existing baggage belt, the installation of a new belt and automated signage, new concessions spaces and a new tourism welcome booth.

Dowe said that the baggage claim area has not been remodeled since the construction of the terminal in 1990, and that changes are needed because air passenger traffic has increased significantly since the terminal was built. The baggage belts were replaced in 2006 but can only serve one large airline at a time. “An additional baggage belt will allow travelers to collect their bags quickly after disembarking. Increased and larger restroom facilities are a major enhancement, as we will be expanding from two male and two female stalls, to eight female stalls and five stalls and four urinals for males. This will provide adequate restroom facilities during peak hours,” he said. Dowe added that the upgraded concession spaces and new flooring would enhance the aesthetics of the terminal and make the area more inviting. The $4 million project is funded through the territory’s Passenger Facility Charges, an additional fee charged to departing and connecting passengers at an airport. The fee is approved by the Federal Aviation Administration and is used to fund airport terminal projects.

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Dowe asks the traveling public and the tenants of the terminal for their patience throughout the construction. “The contractor is cognizant that we have entered our busy tourist season, and will make every effort to minimize impact on the day-to-day operations of the airport,” he said.

According to Dowe, temporary barriers will be erected to hide some of the construction and secured walkways will be clearly identified. Dowe thanked the public in advance for their patience during the upgrades as the Port Authority works to provide a more modern and efficient airport terminal on St. Thomas.

A portion of the terminal apron at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix is also being rehabilitated. The project scope includes the removal of damaged concrete and resurfacing the area with new concrete. Dowe said that this section of the apron, which is located directly north of the airport terminal, primarily services inter-island aircraft such as Seaborne, Cape Air and LIAT, Ltd.

Work on the HERA Terminal apron began Dec. 11 and is expected to be completed in six months. VIPA hired VI Paving, Inc. to perform the $4.2 million project. The project is funded via a Federal Aviation Administration Airport Improvement Projects Grant. The FAA pays 90 percent of the cost and the Port Authority will pay the remainder.

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