• The San Juan Daily Star

Seven companies compete to build new Aguadilla airport runway

By John McPhaul

Seven multinational companies have submitted credentials for the construction of a new runway at Rafael Hernández International Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director Joel A. Pizá Batiz announced Tuesday.

“This is the most important and largest Ports Authority project in recent history,” Pizá Batiz said. “We are very happy and excited, since one of these seven multinational groups will carry out this important large-scale project, with an estimated cost of more than $130 million.”

In March, Ports presented two sections of an industry outreach event where project information was distributed to national and international companies mostly dedicated to the airport construction industry.

In June, Ports issued a request for qualifications, or RFQ, and in that process several groups were organized and submitted credentials of experience and ability to develop a project of such a size, Pizá Batiz said.

There was also a competitive process to select the project manager, in which the Kansas City, Mo.-based firm Burns & McDonnell was selected.

One of the seven groups will be awarded the contract type “design build” for the design and construction of the new runway in the request for proposals, or RFP, based on prices.

The whole process, the Ports chief added, is carried out in accordance with the regulations of the U.S. attorney general’s office and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

For this purpose, a dedicated portal was developed,, containing relevant information, including on the seven multinational groups.

The contract is expected to be signed and construction to begin in the first quarter of 2022.

Upon completion of the project, the current 11,700-foot runway would become a taxiway parallel to the new one, which will be about 11,000 feet long. Cargo and passenger operations will not be affected during the construction of the new runway, Pizá Batiz said.

Ports, in conjunction with the FAA, has developed a financial plan to support and finance the infrastructure project, which is expected to be carried out in phases during the next four fiscal years.

“Thanks to Governor Pedro Pierluisi, it was possible to get the $30 million from cost-sharing financing with the government of Puerto Rico, which has been assigned and deposited into a restricted bank account for use only on this project,” the Ports chief said.

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