81.3 F
Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Home Commentary Open forum An Expansion Plan Is Given for Cyril E. King Airport

An Expansion Plan Is Given for Cyril E. King Airport

Passengers crowd into the Cyril E. King Airport Thursday to get the first fights out. (V.I. Port Authority photo)
Passengers crowd into the Cyril E. King Airport (V.I. Port Authority photo)

Dear Source:      

In the month of September, the territory was hit by two catastrophic hurricanes that caused destruction on the islands of St. Croix, St. John, St. Thomas and Water Island in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

During Hurricane Irma, the Cyril E. King International Airport on St. Thomas sustained severe damage to its terminal. The category five storm’s furious winds collapsed the ceiling and knocked down signs and counters and the pounding rain caused flooding in the departure area. It has been the busiest airport in the territory serving passengers from the U.S. mainland, Puerto Rico and other Caribbean destinations.

In 2015, the Virgin Islands Port Authority had planned to upgrade the two current airports in the territory. The authority officials said the expansion cost for the St. Thomas airport would be $70 million and $25 million for the St. Croix airport. But things might change after the hurricanes damaged the both facilities.

Before hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the territory. A few passengers who traveled to St. Thomas wrote about their experience at Cyril E. King International Airport on Google Maps. Some said it is a good small airport and others said it was crowded with limited options.

Tourism is the largest export sector and helps to diversify the Virgin Islands economy and is down now because of this year’s active hurricane season, which caused many people who worked in the industry to lose their jobs after some hotels, mainly on St. Thomas, were affected and are closed, and some taxis are damaged. The recovery hasn’t ended, but cruise ships are returning slowly. In October, Governor Mapp announced that the territory will see more cruise ships in the storms wake, and last week Tourism Commissioner Beverly Nicholson-Doty met with Spirit Airlines to increase flights to the capital island of St. Thomas in February 2018.

My expansion plan for the Cyril E. King International Airport is to put a passenger waiting/gate area with more options on the second floor and move the airport offices to the third floor. I think it will attract airlines that aren’t currently present in the territory. Then bring jet bridges to protect passengers from the rain when departing or arriving on the plane. We have to make our visitors feel comfortable to return again. The U.S. Virgin Islands is one of the top places to vacation in the Caribbean, and the hurricanes didn’t move them from the list. We will work together to rebuild our islands infrastructure stronger for future hurricane seasons.

Thank you and God bless the people of the Virgin Islands.

Sean Connor Jr., St. Thomas

Print Friendly, PDF & Email




Support local + independent journalism in the U.S.V.I.

Unlike many news organizations, we haven't put up a paywall – we want to keep our journalism as accessible as we can. Our independent journalism costs time, money and hard work to keep you informed, but we do it because we believe that it matters. We know that informed communities are empowered ones. If you appreciate our reporting and want to help make our future more secure, please consider donating.

JOIN OUR MAILING LIST

STAY CONNECTED

20,265FansLike
4,124FollowersFollow

FROM FACEBOOK

Comments Box SVG iconsUsed for the like, share, comment, and reaction icons
Load more
Print Friendly, PDF & Email