Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Puerto Rico gov’t discusses passenger control with Congress amid pandemic

By on August 4, 2020

View from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (Juan J. Rodríguez/CB)

SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA) and the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA) participated in a conference call Tuesday with the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, Subcommittee on Aviation. The Government of Puerto Rico discussed the influx of passengers and tourists coming to the island during this heightened time of concern for public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

On April 7, Puerto Rico’s government sent a letter to FAA Administrator Stephen Dickson requesting the agency prohibit incoming flights operating under 14 C.F.R. Part 121 that originate from “Hot Spot” areas in the contiguous United State, as part of Gov. Wanda Vázquez Garced’s “proactive measures to protect the health, safety, and welfare of residents on the island,” a press release from her administration reads.

However, on May 21, 2the FAA denied the request to prohibit incoming flights to Puerto Rico. On July 16, Vázquez Garced re-submitted the same petition to temporarily prohibit commercial flights (Part 121) from hot spot areas, specifically identifying Florida and Texas. This petition is still pending before the FAA.  

“We are very concerned with this situation and the spike in COVID-19 cases we are seeing, and we expressed those concerns to the Subcommittee on Aviation and FAA,” said the executive director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration, Jennifer M. Storipan, Esq. “We have a large diaspora in the state of Florida, and which I am very familiar with in in light of the services PRFAA provides in our Regional office, but we need to temporarily control the passengers that come to our island from these hot spots in order to protect our people living on the island”. 

“In the past few weeks, we have seen an increase in the influx of passengers from these hot spots traveling to our island and Puerto Rico is experiencing a spike COVID-19 cases. We want to continue establishing the dialogue with the federal government to find creative actions according our legal framework.” the executive director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority, Joel A. Pizá-Batiz, added in the release. “We are confident that actions will be taken by our federal counterparts to better protect the people of Puerto Rico.”

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