Puerto Rico Welcomes One of World’s Largest Cruise Ships
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico welcomed Sunday one of the largest cruise ships in the world, Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, which can accommodate 6,360 passengers and 2,394 crew members and is scheduled to visit the island six more times this year, for an estimated $2.3 million injection for the Puerto Rican economy.
Gov. Alejandro García Padilla spoke in front of the 100,000-ton ship that docked in Port of San Juan’s Pier 3, which was expanded with a $9.3 million investment, and announced the near-future arrival of two more mega cruise ships.
The Allure of the Seas, which has the same design as the Oasis, but is 2 inches longer, will be arriving to the island in early summer. Meanwhile, the Harmony of the Seas – which will become the world’s largest cruise ship, able to carry 6,780 passengers and 2,300 crew members – will arrive in San Juan on Dec. 28.
“We have reason to be proud, because we have worked hard for it, especially in the tourism sector,” the governor said, adding that with the upcoming cruise ships, “we consolidated our position as a world-class destination.”
Touching upon the island’s financial debacle, he said, “We are all aware of the fiscal crisis we are facing and our struggle to get the U.S. Congress to give us the tools we are justly requesting to overcome this situation. While that is happening, we have not rested for a moment in our endeavor to build a better Puerto Rico.
“The transformation of our tourism industry is a fact. While last year we broke the record with a million and a half cruise passengers, this year we fully embarked on the mega-cruise industry,” the governor said.
By Caribbean Business on March 18, 2016
SAN JUAN — The Puerto Rico government and Aerostar Holdings, the private operator of the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in Carolina, inaugurated on Thursday the renovated Terminal C, while announcing the construction of new Customs & Border Protection (CBP) facilities in Terminal A.
“During these past years, we have registered a significant increase in the number of passengers. These improvements were completed to address the needs of modern travelers that include a higher frequency of flights, the development of new international routes, and a better commercial offer,” said Aerostar CEO Agustín Arellano.
The renovation work at Terminal C, with 87,000 square feet, was undertaken with a $55 million investment. The terminal serves such airlines as Volaris, Copa, Avianca, Condor, Norwegian, Liat, Air Antilles, Intercaribbean and American Airlines.
As for the new CBP facilities in Terminal A, Arellano said work is expected to be completed by September, to the tune of $4 million. He explained these would facilitate the entry process of passengers into the U.S., while reducing the time aircraft spend on the ramp. This would provide an opportunity to expand operations, the Aerostar CEO added.
“The construction of these new facilities will certainly help us provide a more comprehensive, flexible and secure service to the millions of passengers traveling annually through our international airport,” said Víctor Suárez, Puerto Rico designate Secretary of State and interim governor at the time of the event.
The area will allow for much faster passenger traffic and provides the opportunity security checks for passengers connecting on the island to their final destination.
Robert Land, senior vice president of government affairs for JetBlue, said the new CBP facilities will increase the efficiency of operations at Terminal A, which serves the aforementioned airline’s operations at the Muñoz Marín Airport.
“As the largest airline in Puerto Rico, our goal is to continually improve the travel experience for our customers and this new facility will fulfill that purpose,” Land said, while adding that JetBlue committed many years ago to make Puerto Rico one of its six main hubs, which it calls “focus cities.”
When asked by Caribbean Business if there were new routes on the pipeline for Puerto Rico as a result of the work being undertaken at the airport, Land said that although there are none to announce as of today, “because of this project we will consider new international routes.”
He noted that given the current logistics at the airport, the airline couldn’t add more service.
“With this project completion later this year, JetBlue would begin to think about how can we add more routes,” Land said.
In addition to Suárez, Land and Arellano, Ports Authority Executive Director Ingrid Colberg, Carolina Mayor José Aponte Dalmau, Puerto Rico Tourism Co. Deputy Director Luis Daniel Muñiz, and CBP Field Operations Director Marcelino Borges participated of the event.
Aerostar has been privately operating the airport operations since 2013, when it entered into a public-private partnership with the Puerto Rico government.
“We have met what we committed to three years ago,” Arellano stressed.