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Washington D.C.
Tuesday, May 21, 2024

FAA Proposes $477,000 Penalty Against Virgin Islands Port Authority

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is proposing a $477,000 civil penalty against the Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) for improper airfield maintenance at Cyril E. King International Airport.   

The agency alleges that during airport inspections in 2021 and 2022, the FAA found numerous violations including but not limited to cracked runway and taxiway pavement; an improperly graded and drained runway safety area; obstructions in the runway safety area; faded, missing or incorrect runway and taxiway markings; inaccurate signs; damaged or missing runway edge lights; and failure to properly store, dispense and handle fuel. In addition, the Virgin Islands Port Authority failed to issue a Notice to Air Missions (NOTAM) informing air carriers of a runway issue at the airport, the FAA alleges.

The Virgin Islands Port Authority has 30 days to respond to the FAA after receiving the agency’s enforcement letter.

A statement was posted on VIPA’s website on September 21, noting that a full response has already been submitted to the FAA. Virgin Islands Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe said that while there was notice of some of the deficiencies, others were not brought to the Authority’s attention until it received the FAA’s letter on August 23, 2023. 

“VIPA has submitted a response to the FAA, including extensive documentation showing numerous deficiencies listed were corrected, are currently being mitigated against, or are simply non-existent,” Dowe said. “Additionally, the VIPA team continues to work with the FAA’s Atlanta Airports District Office to plan and program our capital improvement projects where we address these compliance items. We look forward to being able to discuss this matter with the FAA.” 

The VIPA statement continues that it is currently constructing over $29 million in airfield safety improvements at the Cyril E. King Airport, with additional projects in the planning and design phase for future works, including runway rehabilitation. 

“I remind the traveling public that the King Airport only has one runway,” Dowe said. “VIPA cannot close the airport to complete the extensive runway repairs simultaneously. These projects must be completed in phases. Our contractors, engineers, and airport management staff work in conjunction with the airlines’ schedules and work during the night to complete repairs.” 

VIPA said the airport will continue to operate as normal while this matter is being resolved.

author avatar
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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