The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (F.A.A.) proposed on Friday a $1,466,775 civil penalty against the Virgin Islands Port Authority (V.I.P.A.) for alleged violations of airport safety regulations at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport in St. Croix and Cyril E. King Airport in St. Thomas.
The F.A.A. said it inspected both airports in late January and early February 2018 and found numerous violations at both airports. The federal agency alleged that V.I.P.A. did not have qualified personnel to oversee airport operations to conduct required daily inspections, or to conduct airport rescue and firefighting (A.R.F.F.) operations. The agency also alleged that the airports did not maintain and make available to the F.A.A. required records including its airport certification manuals, airport emergency plans, and training records for operations supervisors and A.R.F.F. employees.
David Mapp, V.I. Port Authority executive Director
Additionally, the F.A.A. alleged that V.I.P.A. did not meet the A.R.F.F. requirements for air carrier flights at Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix after an A.R.F.F. unit could not apply a fire-extinguishing agent within the required time and was not capable of performing its required functions.
F.A.A. inspectors also found that V.I.P.A. did not properly grade the safety area for runways at both airports to eliminate hazardous ruts, humps, depressions or other surface variations. The runways and taxiways were not properly lighted, marked, or signed and V.I.P.A. failed to issue notices to airman (NOTAM) informing air carriers of the runway and taxiway issues at the airports, the FAA alleged.
The Port Authority also failed to confirm that each fueling agent at the St. Croix airport had trained fueling personnel, and failed to take immediate action to alleviate wildlife hazards detected at the landfill near the airport, according to the F.A.A.
The federal agency gave V.I.P.A. 30 days after receiving the F.A.A.’s enforcement letter to respond to the agency.