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What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 6:31 am
by AntonioMartin
Like if Puerto Rico was independent and didnt have to depend on US flight rights, which airlines would we see in my home country? (including ones that already fly there and hypothetical flag carriers) in a world without Covid

I think Cubana and a small flag carrier (Puertorriquena de Aviacion or Aero Puerto Rico, perhaps LATAM Puerto Rico) are the most obvious but i want to hear your opinions!

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:31 pm
by GalaxyFlyer
You said airports, not airlines. Airports wouldn’t change much, not enough travel to justify new airports.

As for airlines, maybe Cubana, but PR is covered by US Open Skies, so I wouldn’t expect much to change—US mainlines.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Thu Aug 06, 2020 8:33 pm
by AntonioMartin
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You said airports, not airlines. Airports wouldn’t change much, not enough travel to justify new airports.

As for airlines, maybe Cubana, but PR is covered by US Open Skies, so I wouldn’t expect much to change—US mainlines.

How about Aerolineas Argentinas or a Brazilian airline?

Also don't you think that not having to deal with US government flight rights (which foreign airlines usually use for access to New York or LA then other larger secondary targets) would open Puerto Rico up for negotiations with many potential server airlines around the world?

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 12:57 am
by GalaxyFlyer
I think any airline that wanted landing rights in PR could have it for the asking. The traffic is heavily US mainland oriented and, since the tax exemptions expired, mostly low yield VFR. High yield Tourism in the Caribbean is mostly places like St. Bart, St Martin, Barbados, St Lucia. How many Brazilians are going to PR today instead of Orlando? Not many, but true they’d have to route thru MIA.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 5:20 am
by AntonioMartin
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I think any airline that wanted landing rights in PR could have it for the asking. The traffic is heavily US mainland oriented and, since the tax exemptions expired, mostly low yield VFR. High yield Tourism in the Caribbean is mostly places like St. Bart, St Martin, Barbados, St Lucia. How many Brazilians are going to PR today instead of Orlando? Not many, but true they’d have to route thru MIA.

Right...but how about if Puerto Rico was independent, and had never been a US territory like every other Latin country...how different would the commercial airline landscape would be at Puerto Rican airports then?

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 12:47 pm
by phugoid1982
I grew up in Mayaguez back when Eagle still flew the ATRs down there and even had flights to Santo Domingo. I'd love to see perhaps a Cubana An-158 fly in maybe from Santiago de Cuba which is only 600 miles away. Still runway length has always been an issue. I think the lack of customs facilities now precludes and international service so Aguadilla would be a better candidate given no runway length issues. It would be hilarious to see an Il-96 coming in from Havana.

If PR were independent , I think Prinair would become the default carrier and expand back to it's glory days instead of the tiny charter airline/tour company it is now

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 5:56 pm
by Flaps
AntonioMartin wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I think any airline that wanted landing rights in PR could have it for the asking. The traffic is heavily US mainland oriented and, since the tax exemptions expired, mostly low yield VFR. High yield Tourism in the Caribbean is mostly places like St. Bart, St Martin, Barbados, St Lucia. How many Brazilians are going to PR today instead of Orlando? Not many, but true they’d have to route thru MIA.

Right...but how about if Puerto Rico was independent, and had never been a US territory like every other Latin country...how different would the commercial airline landscape would be at Puerto Rican airports then?


Much less traffic than what currently exists. Take out the vast majority of US traffic (heavily VFR) and what remains? SJU might resemble something like a current day Havana.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:49 am
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
I grew up in Mayaguez back when Eagle still flew the ATRs down there and even had flights to Santo Domingo. I'd love to see perhaps a Cubana An-158 fly in maybe from Santiago de Cuba which is only 600 miles away. Still runway length has always been an issue. I think the lack of customs facilities now precludes and international service so Aguadilla would be a better candidate given no runway length issues. It would be hilarious to see an Il-96 coming in from Havana.

If PR were independent , I think Prinair would become the default carrier and expand back to it's glory days instead of the tiny charter airline/tour company it is now

Mayaguez, ah? Taino!!! I think everything you say is true!

I remember Eagle's service to Mayaguez too...when I was a teen, in my then current state of ignorance, I thought Mayaguez and Ponce were actually being served by American Airlines and Eastern Airlines! (not subsidiaries of them)...lol!

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 4:53 am
by AntonioMartin
Flaps wrote:
AntonioMartin wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
I think any airline that wanted landing rights in PR could have it for the asking. The traffic is heavily US mainland oriented and, since the tax exemptions expired, mostly low yield VFR. High yield Tourism in the Caribbean is mostly places like St. Bart, St Martin, Barbados, St Lucia. How many Brazilians are going to PR today instead of Orlando? Not many, but true they’d have to route thru MIA.

Right...but how about if Puerto Rico was independent, and had never been a US territory like every other Latin country...how different would the commercial airline landscape would be at Puerto Rican airports then?


Much less traffic than what currently exists. Take out the vast majority of US traffic (heavily VFR) and what remains? SJU might resemble something like a current day Havana.

Probably...but Havana does have more diversity international-airline wise....

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 1:04 pm
by phugoid1982
AntonioMartin wrote:
phugoid1982 wrote:
I grew up in Mayaguez back when Eagle still flew the ATRs down there and even had flights to Santo Domingo. I'd love to see perhaps a Cubana An-158 fly in maybe from Santiago de Cuba which is only 600 miles away. Still runway length has always been an issue. I think the lack of customs facilities now precludes and international service so Aguadilla would be a better candidate given no runway length issues. It would be hilarious to see an Il-96 coming in from Havana.

If PR were independent , I think Prinair would become the default carrier and expand back to it's glory days instead of the tiny charter airline/tour company it is now

Mayaguez, ah? Taino!!! I think everything you say is true!

I remember Eagle's service to Mayaguez too...when I was a teen, in my then current state of ignorance, I thought Mayaguez and Ponce were actually being served by American Airlines and Eastern Airlines! (not subsidiaries of them)...lol![/

Haha! I just got really nostalgic. I used to fly MAZ-SJU a lot and when I wasn't flying I'd go out to the airport on my bike to spot because it was pretty busy back then. When I was really young (late 80s) Eagle still used the CASA 212s and two of them crashed at MAZ. Then they used the Short 360s for a while and then the ATR 42/72. I also flew Eastern Metro Express a few times on their Twin Otters. At the time both carriers combined had at least 10 daily flights to San Juan and I found some old Prinnair timetables that showed an "hourly" shuttle on DH herons so at least 20 flights daily in the late 70s early 80s when they had a monopoly on the route. A far cry from the paltry 4 Cape air has today. BTW, the old MAZ terminal building had a cafeteria which the new building they built in the early 90s didn't so some of my best childhood memories are getting to the airport early for a flight or picking people up and eating like 3 empanadillas while spotting!!! :D. Simpler times...

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 2:11 pm
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
AntonioMartin wrote:
phugoid1982 wrote:
I grew up in Mayaguez back when Eagle still flew the ATRs down there and even had flights to Santo Domingo. I'd love to see perhaps a Cubana An-158 fly in maybe from Santiago de Cuba which is only 600 miles away. Still runway length has always been an issue. I think the lack of customs facilities now precludes and international service so Aguadilla would be a better candidate given no runway length issues. It would be hilarious to see an Il-96 coming in from Havana.

If PR were independent , I think Prinair would become the default carrier and expand back to it's glory days instead of the tiny charter airline/tour company it is now

Mayaguez, ah? Taino!!! I think everything you say is true!

I remember Eagle's service to Mayaguez too...when I was a teen, in my then current state of ignorance, I thought Mayaguez and Ponce were actually being served by American Airlines and Eastern Airlines! (not subsidiaries of them)...lol![/

Haha! I just got really nostalgic. I used to fly MAZ-SJU a lot and when I wasn't flying I'd go out to the airport on my bike to spot because it was pretty busy back then. When I was really young (late 80s) Eagle still used the CASA 212s and two of them crashed at MAZ. Then they used the Short 360s for a while and then the ATR 42/72. I also flew Eastern Metro Express a few times on their Twin Otters. At the time both carriers combined had at least 10 daily flights to San Juan and I found some old Prinnair timetables that showed an "hourly" shuttle on DH herons so at least 20 flights daily in the late 70s early 80s when they had a monopoly on the route. A far cry from the paltry 4 Cape air has today. BTW, the old MAZ terminal building had a cafeteria which the new building they built in the early 90s didn't so some of my best childhood memories are getting to the airport early for a flight or picking people up and eating like 3 empanadillas while spotting!!! :D. Simpler times...


Wow! Indeed those were the times! Empanadillas! ..lol

I only went to Mayaguez once in my life. You guys did have a good basketball team back then though...I remember a Mexican American named Julio Gallardo who was a star there!

But me living in Bayamon and later Caguas I was spoiled., lol man I remember seeing Avianca's 747 over my house and then going to abuela's house in Santurce where all the planes had to fly over her house while on finals! (my uncle was actually involved in a plane crash sitting nearby, luckily he survived) ..my other abuela lived in Ponce and I LOVE Ponce the city, but my aunt offered to take me to the airport one day and I said "pa'que? only Ptinair flies here" (very early 80s) can you imagine how spoiled I must have sounded? LOL

Oh another thing, I also went spotting one day in late 1981 at SJU when the famous group, Menudo, arrived from Mexico on a Sunday. I really enjoyed their music and still do from time to time so you know what I did, I went to the area they were being received and sang Sube a Mi Motora along with them and the rest of the fans..lol there was a Delta L-1011 that had landed just before their Learjet did...a famous Puerto Rican airplane that learjet for sure!

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 5:43 pm
by phugoid1982
Hablando de esos 747 de Avianca, i'm pretty sure my parents flew in on one of those in 1984 when we moved to PR from Brazil when I was 2 years old. My dad had accepted a position at UPRM and he told me they flew Sao Paulo- (GRU)-Bogota-SJU on a 747 so I wish I had been old enough to remember. Whenever we did the "trek" to Plaza Las Americas de Mayaguez which was the only "big" mall before Plaza del Caribe in Ponce I'd force my dad to take us to LMM and the Aeroparque so I remember watching the British Airways 747 (later DC-10), KLM MD-11 and Iberia 747s come in. The Delta L1011s make me so mad because I've flown the AA DC-10s from SJU but I had always wanted to fly the L1011s and I shoudl've been able to given the fact I went to Georgia Tech and thus commuted between PR and Atlanta on a regular basis but got stuck with the 767-300 most of the time.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Mon Aug 10, 2020 12:25 am
by stlgph
Aero Puerto Rico and some sexy Dash 8s!

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:55 pm
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
Hablando de esos 747 de Avianca, i'm pretty sure my parents flew in on one of those in 1984 when we moved to PR from Brazil when I was 2 years old. My dad had accepted a position at UPRM and he told me they flew Sao Paulo- (GRU)-Bogota-SJU on a 747 so I wish I had been old enough to remember. Whenever we did the "trek" to Plaza Las Americas de Mayaguez which was the only "big" mall before Plaza del Caribe in Ponce I'd force my dad to take us to LMM and the Aeroparque so I remember watching the British Airways 747 (later DC-10), KLM MD-11 and Iberia 747s come in. The Delta L1011s make me so mad because I've flown the AA DC-10s from SJU but I had always wanted to fly the L1011s and I shoudl've been able to given the fact I went to Georgia Tech and thus commuted between PR and Atlanta on a regular basis but got stuck with the 767-300 most of the time.


Diantre mano that was in the 90s, lol!

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 1:56 pm
by AntonioMartin
stlgph wrote:
Aero Puerto Rico and some sexy Dash 8s!

Or A220s! Can you imagine that??

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 5:26 pm
by Moosefire
It would probably look a whole lot like the DR.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 8:19 am
by AntonioMartin
Moosefire wrote:
It would probably look a whole lot like the DR.

I was just wondering if Aeroflot would be interested in at least charters to PR....there is Russian traffic to Punta Cana...

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Wed Aug 12, 2020 11:43 am
by phugoid1982
It's too bad Aeroflot doesn't fly regularly into PUJ anymore and I think that they outsourced a lot VFR traffic Rossiya and their new strategy is to focus on "Premium" routes. If PR were independent and not dollarized anymore which contributes to the high cost of visiting I could see Aeroflot charters happening as well as other airlines.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Fri Aug 14, 2020 11:48 pm
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
It's too bad Aeroflot doesn't fly regularly into PUJ anymore and I think that they outsourced a lot VFR traffic Rossiya and their new strategy is to focus on "Premium" routes. If PR were independent and not dollarized anymore which contributes to the high cost of visiting I could see Aeroflot charters happening as well as other airlines.

Yeah me too! A Venezuelan airline perhaps too...

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Sat Aug 15, 2020 12:18 am
by johns624
What would an independent Puerto Rico offer that many other Caribbean islands don't?

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:24 am
by AntonioMartin
johns624 wrote:
What would an independent Puerto Rico offer that many other Caribbean islands don't?

Very good question....

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 7:26 am
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
Hablando de esos 747 de Avianca, i'm pretty sure my parents flew in on one of those in 1984 when we moved to PR from Brazil when I was 2 years old. My dad had accepted a position at UPRM and he told me they flew Sao Paulo- (GRU)-Bogota-SJU on a 747 so I wish I had been old enough to remember. Whenever we did the "trek" to Plaza Las Americas de Mayaguez which was the only "big" mall before Plaza del Caribe in Ponce I'd force my dad to take us to LMM and the Aeroparque so I remember watching the British Airways 747 (later DC-10), KLM MD-11 and Iberia 747s come in. The Delta L1011s make me so mad because I've flown the AA DC-10s from SJU but I had always wanted to fly the L1011s and I shoudl've been able to given the fact I went to Georgia Tech and thus commuted between PR and Atlanta on a regular basis but got stuck with the 767-300 most of the time.

Hey did you know Arrow Air used to fly DC-10s between San Juan and Aguadilla on passenger flights???

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 1:11 pm
by phugoid1982
That's wild! I always thought of Arrow Air as a cargo airline but I did a quick search and it looked like they built a hub in PR in 85 and had passenger flights too. I'm wondering, could you actually buy tickets between BQN and SJU or was it just a stop on it's way to the mainland. Carnival airlines used to fly New York-Aguadilla-Ponce throughout the 90s but you couldn't buy tickets from Aguadilla to Ponce. They used to fly an A-300 on the route towards the end and 727s and 737-400s before that. I drove out an hour once to Mercedita once to watch the A-300s takeoff fo Aguadilla in the early morning.

Actually, this is off topic but it's a funny story related to domestic PR flying. In the late 90's when I was in HS we drove to the Federal building in Hato Rey to get sworn in as US citizens. Our car broke down in front of it and after the ceremony was over because my academically minded dad wanted us to be back in Mayaguez quickly as possible because of my exams he wanted us to fly back on Eagle from SJU. My mom was like we should just get a Taxi or take "La linea sultana". But he thought it'd take too long. Long story short, we took a taxi to LMM and our domestic flight was delayed 2h hours!!!! So my mom ended up being right about taking a taxi being faster. In the end the flight to MAZ on the ATR was a brisk 17 minutes. It was the shortest of all my SJU-MAZ flights. I still have the nerdy habbit of timing all my flights from take/off to touchdown. Anyway, the funny thing is I was relating the story to the flight attendant she said we were the first people she had seen who weren't non reving flying SJU-MAZ on Eagle who weren't connecting from the mainland or islands!

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2020 5:02 pm
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
I'm wondering, could you actually buy tickets between BQN and SJU or was it just a stop on it's way to the mainland.

Me too! It probably was just a stop...

phugoid1982 wrote:
Actually, this is off topic but it's a funny story related to domestic PR flying. In the late 90's when I was in HS we drove to the Federal building in Hato Rey to get sworn in as US citizens. Our car broke down in front of it and after the ceremony was over because my academically minded dad wanted us to be back in Mayaguez quickly as possible because of my exams he wanted us to fly back on Eagle from SJU. My mom was like we should just get a Taxi or take "La linea sultana". But he thought it'd take too long. Long story short, we took a taxi to LMM and our domestic flight was delayed 2h hours!!!! So my mom ended up being right about taking a taxi being faster. In the end the flight to MAZ on the ATR was a brisk 17 minutes. It was the shortest of all my SJU-MAZ flights. I still have the nerdy habbit of timing all my flights from take/off to touchdown. Anyway, the funny thing is I was relating the story to the flight attendant she said we were the first people she had seen who weren't non reving flying SJU-MAZ on Eagle who weren't connecting from the mainland or islands!

I love hearing your anecdotes, bro! lol

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:37 pm
by caribny
johns624 wrote:
What would an independent Puerto Rico offer that many other Caribbean islands don't?



It would have survived just as other Caribbean nations do. I dont know that PR has less than Jamaica as an example, or the DR or Cuba.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 3:56 pm
by phugoid1982
Thanks man! I can't believe how long ago some of this stuff happened. I haven't been down to PR in 5 years. I'm hoping once things settle with COVID I can hitch a ride on the United 777s going down there from Newark.

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:14 pm
by AntonioMartin
caribny wrote:
johns624 wrote:
What would an independent Puerto Rico offer that many other Caribbean islands don't?



It would have survived just as other Caribbean nations do. I dont know that PR has less than Jamaica as an example, or the DR or Cuba.

I agree with you 200 percent, as an independentista!

One thing that Caribbean nations lack however, I have to say, is cities the size of a New York or Hong Kong. Realistically speaking, usually those are the cities that get tons of international air service-and a few sea services as well provided they have water access.

But dreamer me wants A350 service to San Juan on Air China, Boeing 787 on Oman Air, A380 on Lufthansa, Boeing 737 on Aeromexico, a320 on Avianca El Salvador, A340 on Arik Air, plus American, Delta and United 737s, Boeing 737 on Caribbean, B747 on Air Bridge Cargo, etc, etc...keep the current airlines like Vieques Air, Air Sunshine etc and bring new ones from all over the world like Tunisair, Brussels, and old service ones like British and Air France back!!

Oh well, I can dream! :lol:

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 10:27 pm
by AntonioMartin
phugoid1982 wrote:
That's wild! I always thought of Arrow Air as a cargo airline but I did a quick search and it looked like they built a hub in PR in 85 and had passenger flights too. I'm wondering, could you actually buy tickets between BQN and SJU or was it just a stop on it's way to the mainland. Carnival airlines used to fly New York-Aguadilla-Ponce throughout the 90s but you couldn't buy tickets from Aguadilla to Ponce. They used to fly an A-300 on the route towards the end and 727s and 737-400s before that. I drove out an hour once to Mercedita once to watch the A-300s takeoff fo Aguadilla in the early morning.

Actually, this is off topic but it's a funny story related to domestic PR flying. In the late 90's when I was in HS we drove to the Federal building in Hato Rey to get sworn in as US citizens. Our car broke down in front of it and after the ceremony was over because my academically minded dad wanted us to be back in Mayaguez quickly as possible because of my exams he wanted us to fly back on Eagle from SJU. My mom was like we should just get a Taxi or take "La linea sultana". But he thought it'd take too long. Long story short, we took a taxi to LMM and our domestic flight was delayed 2h hours!!!! So my mom ended up being right about taking a taxi being faster. In the end the flight to MAZ on the ATR was a brisk 17 minutes. It was the shortest of all my SJU-MAZ flights. I still have the nerdy habbit of timing all my flights from take/off to touchdown. Anyway, the funny thing is I was relating the story to the flight attendant she said we were the first people she had seen who weren't non reving flying SJU-MAZ on Eagle who weren't connecting from the mainland or islands!

Caramba I read about the Aguadilla to Ponce service on Carnival and wrote about it at Wikipedia's Mercedita Airport page, but had no idea you couldnt fly from PSE to BQN only! Thats great info to know, man! Wonder why? I mean Im sure only 2 pelagatos would go by plane but those 50 extra bucks couldnt hurt Carnival..or maybe there are government fees for each person flown in the segment?? lol

Re: What would an Independent Puerto Rico's airports look like?

Posted: Tue Aug 18, 2020 11:03 pm
by phugoid1982
AntonioMartin wrote:
[quote="phugoid1982" ]Caramba I read about the Aguadilla to Ponce service on Carnival and wrote about it at Wikipedia's
Mercedita Airport page, but had no idea you couldnt fly from PSE to BQN only! Thats great info to know, man! Wonder why? I mean Im sure only 2 pelagatos would go by plane but those 50 extra bucks couldnt hurt Carnival..or maybe there are government fees for each person flown in the segment?? lol[/quote][/quote][/quote]



LOL!!! Flying sure beats taking "La numero 2" on a Friday afternoon when every college kid from Mayaguez is going back to "Area Metro" or down south. Like you said, I think taxes and fees would not have made the short hop from BQN to PSE very conducive to profitability even with the few people willing to pay for it. Operationally, Ponce was always a tough operation. I remember reading an article in "El nuevo Dia", back when people read newspapers, that Carnival would only average about 28 passengers per flight. Ouch! Apparently Eastern tried Ponce too in the early 90s with 757s and so did American and later Continental, Spirit, and Delta too in the mid 2000s but only Jetblue seemed to make Ponce work. Last time I was over there, probably a decade ago, I was amazed they had two jetways. It boggles my mind how Aguadilla with more traffic still doesn't have them. I was friends with the owner of the FBO over there and he said they kept saying they were installing them soon but that never happened!!! BTW, the runway at Aguadilla is so beat up that when Boeing brought the 787 for sea level testing down there in 2011 I was lucky enough to be there and talk to the test pilots and they told me the first thing they had to do was change tires. Que triste!