Frequently Asked Questions

Learn more about our project with the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will the airports be privatized?

No, the airports will not be privatized. VIPA will be entering into a partnership with a private partner to modernize and improve both airports.

VIPA will have oversight over the airport’s potential private partner.

VIPA will be partnering with a private sector entity that will provide funding to modernize and improve the airports in exchange for a long-term lease of the terminals and operating and management agreements.

Is the P3 model the best overall way forward to redevelop the terminals at HERA and CEKA?

A public-private partnership will mean that both airports receive needed infrastructure upgrades without placing a capital debt burden on VIPA or the Government of the Virgin Islands.

The competitive P3 process will ensure that the USVI gets a best-in-class airport developer and operator while remaining in compliance with FAA regulations and safety requirements.

How will VIPA address issues regarding accountability, transparency, and openness in the procurement and selection processes?

VIPA is committed to creating an informational and transparent process and will provide information throughout the process utilizing various means, to include:

  • A stand-alone VIPA Airports P3 website,
  • Regular updates via radio, newspapers, and social media
  • Community meetings and forums.

Will VIPA still be the owner of the airports?

Yes, VIPA will maintain ownership of both airports, as well as continue to be the FAA Part 139 certificate holder. VIPA will remain eligible to receive FAA grants.

All improvements made during the P3 lease term will revert to VIPA at the end of the leasehold at no additional cost to VIPA or the Government of the Virgin Islands.

Will the redeveloped terminals include jet bridges?

The redeveloped terminals will include an optimal mix of jet-bridge and stair access to accommodate all types of aircraft utilizing the airport facilities.

What type of risk will be transferred to the private partner from VIPA?

The private partner will be responsible for the financing, design, permitting, and construction. Once the project is completed, they will assume all operational risk, including all operations and maintenance expenses. 

How is this P3 different than the P3 at the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico’s P3 utilized the FAA’s Airport Investment Partnership Program, which allowed the government to receive a substantial up-front payment in exchange for a long-term lease.

Puerto Rico’s P3 required the transfer of the Airport’s Part 139 operating certificate to the private partner.

Puerto Rico’s P3 was subject to an extensive FAA notice, hearing, and comment process.

How will local communities and businesses participate during the redevelopment and operation of the Airports?

There are local lawyers and business people on the VIPA P3 advisory team assisting with the procurement process.

There will be local business participation on the design-build teams.

Local businesses will continue to have the opportunity to be concessionaires at the airports.

There will be increased jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities.

Have other U.S. airports utilized a P3 structure to redevelop their terminals?

  • LaGuardia Airport and John F Kennedy International Airport in New York
  • Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey
  • Multiple terminals at the Los Angeles International Airport in California
  • Gulfport Airport in Alabama
  • Luis Munoz Marin International Airport in Puerto Rico
  • Dallas-Love Field Airport in Texas
  • Kansas City International Airport in Missouri

How will VIPA make sure the private partner fulfills its promises and obligations?

There will be Key Performance Indicators that will be included in the Lease and Operating & Management Agreement.

There will be annual reviews of the performance of the private partner by VIPA.

The FAA will continue to perform regulatory and safety inspections.

What is the anticipated duration of the project?

It is anticipated that the airport projects be transitioned to the private developer in Q1 2024, with construction beginning in Q1 2025. Construction is targeted to be completed or substantially completed in Q4 2028.

Will airport employees be displaced because of the P3?

VIPA will work with the selected P3 partner to ensure a smooth transition of employees. Some employees will be able to remain with VIPA based on their work assignments, while other employees whose work assignments are airport specific will be offered the opportunity to transition to the private partner.

What is the process that will be used to select the private partner in the P3?

The selection process begins with the issuance of the Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The RFQ will be used as a screening process to establish a pool of vendors that are then qualified, and thus eligible to submit responses to the Request for Proposal (RFP). Vendors who are pre-qualified in the RFQ process will be eligible to receive the RFP. This is an open and competitive process.

Why redevelop the airports now?

  • The terminals have not been upgraded since 1989 (CEKA) and 2000 (HERA) with the exception of the CEKA baggage claim area, which was renovated in 2014, and the HERA domestic lounge was remodeled in 2021.
  • The CEKA terminal was designed to accommodate 300,000 passengers; however, more than 1.65 million passengers used the terminal in 2022.
  • The terminal expansion will help alleviate congestion and long wait times at the airport.
  • Provide for future tourism growth.
  • Remain competitive with other Caribbean airports.

What is the typical financing structure for a P3 Project?

The selected partner will finance the entire project with a combination of debt and equity.

What will happen if the private partner goes out of business or otherwise cannot complete the P3 Project?

VIPA will assume ownership of any improvements, take over operations, and select a new private partner to complete the project.

Does VIPA receive any financial benefit under this arrangement?

VIPA will receive annual rent payments and will share in airport revenues.

Short and long-term maintenance at both airports will be paid for by the private partner during the lease term.

The private partner is responsible for capital improvements at both airports during the lease term.

Why would a private partner want to participate in this P3 Project?

A private partner that participates in this project will collect airport fees and rents as revenue.

The private partner will be responsible for all operation and maintenance expenses and will also pay a ground lease and percentage rent on facility leases to VIPA.

The private partner will enter into a lease agreement with VIPA.