US Virgin Islands Hotel & Tourism Association
The Virgin Islands Port Authority continues to make progress with the rebuilding of the U.S. Virgin Islands’ air and seaports. The territory’s ports were severely damaged during two Category 5 hurricanes in September 2017.
VIPA’s contractor, Lemartec, Inc., has begun construction of a new roof for the Cyril E. King Airport terminal. The entire 240,000-square foot roof at the CEKA terminal will be replaced with a metal and two-ply membrane roof. The roof replacement will be done in phases to address the most critical areas first and should be completed by late November 2018.
Materials to repair the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport terminal’s roof are being shipped to St. Croix. Repairs are expected to begin in six weeks. The hurricane-damaged roof at the new Airport Rescue Fire Fighter facility at HERA has also been reconstructed. VIPA is awaiting a Certificate of Occupancy and plans to begin using the new facility by the end of June 2018.
The territory’s aviation outlook looks bright as airlines continue to resume and add new flights to the territory:
- United Airlines has resumed its Saturdays-only service from Dulles and Houston to St. Thomas. They will have daily flights from June 7 through Aug. 20 from Dulles, and a Saturdays-only flight from Newark in late August.
- On May 24, Spirit Airlines began non-stop service between Fort Lauderdale to St. Croix. The service will run three times a week.
- Delta has two daily flights from Atlanta and reinstated its daily New York to St. Thomas service on May 24.
- LIAT returns to St. Thomas on July 2 providing flights from Antigua three times a week.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection clearance at VIPA’s seaports in St. John has been a major challenge since the hurricanes last September because most of VIPA’s marine facilities in Cruz Bay were destroyed. However, temporary arrangements have been made to bring some relief to mariners. Starting on the week of June 4, Customs will clear pleasure-craft vessels at the Victor Sewer Marine Facility (The Creek) in Cruz Bay.
VIPA’s board also approved the construction of a temporary U.S. Customs checkpoint inside the Urman Fredericks Marine Terminal in Red Hook, St. Thomas to provide screening for foreign arrival passenger ferries. This project was delayed due to issues with a previous contractor. VIPA has since re-bid the project and received the bids on May 18. Construction will take four weeks to complete and the temporary checkpoint should be operational by July 2018. All foreign arrival passenger ferries will continue to clear Customs at the Edward Blyden Marine terminal in St. Thomas until the temporary checkpoint at the Red Hook terminal is built.
Other ongoing VIPA port improvement projects include:
- The two-level parking garage at the Urman Fredericks Terminal in Red Hook is expected to be completed by August 2018.
- Designs for a new air cargo facility at HERA and a new marine terminal building for the Containerport on St. Croix have been submitted to VIPA for review.
- VIPA is working closely with the US Army Corps of Engineers to determine when the permit for the dredging of the Schooner Bay Channel will be issued. This dredging will allow mini-cruise and other luxury vessels to berth at Gallows Bay in Christiansted, St. Croix.
- The Port Authority has applied to the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Coastal Zone Management Commission to dredge approximately 232,000 cubic yards of material from the Charlotte Amalie Harbor. This dredging will be funded by federal monies obtained by the Government of the Virgin Islands and will allow Oasis-class vessels to berth at the West Indian Company Dock in Havensight, St. Thomas.
For more information about VIPA’s hurricane recovery, please contact the Port Authority’s public information officer at 340-774-1629 or firstname.lastname@example.org.