USVI raises airport charge
By John Collins (1)
landing and passenger fees increased by V.I. Ports Authority.
with a deficit expected to top $5 million by the end of its fiscal year Sept.
30, the U.S. Virgin Islands Ports Authority (PA) decided to not only trim
expenses but also raise the fees for aircraft landings and per-passenger fees
by 35% effective immediately.
increase will raise landing fees for aircraft from $2.50 to $3.38 per every
1,000 pounds and the per-passenger fee will go from $2.59 to $3.50 for domestic
flights and from $8.15 per passenger to $11 for foreign flights.
estimates that the higher fees will result in $3.5 million in added revenues
which, coupled with cuts in spending for capital projects, should result in
enough savings to balance the operating budgets for the airports in St. Croix
and St. Thomas.
announced increases brought an immediate negative reaction from the airlines
serving the territory but PA Executive Director Gordon Finch said the fee
increases are obligatory whenever the budget of the PA goes into deficit.
airline executive said the aviation industry “is still reeling from the
aftershocks of 9/11” and expressed “surprise that the PA was raising the fees
when the airlines are experiencing declining revenues and fewer passengers.”
spokesperson for Cape Air, which operates in the USVI as well as in Puerto Rico
and the northeastern U.S., said that the fees which the airlines pays in St.
Thomas “are twice as high as those we pay in New England including at Boston.”
of the PA is$74.5 million annually and the bulk of its revenues from its airport
operations overhead ($15.3 million) come from the fees.
a rise in fees at the territory’s marine terminals, which mainly serve the
cruise trade, are not contemplated because their operating costs are in balance.
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September 02, 2002