VIRGIN ISLANDS PORT AUTHORITY
Gateways to the U.S. Virgin Islands' Economy
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is an autonomous agency that owns and manages the two airports and the majority of the public seaports in the United States Virgin Islands. We are also charged with maintaining the harbors in the territory. The law stipulates that VIPA must make its properties available to the public so that the populace may reap the benefits of these facilities.
VIPA derives its operating revenues from user fees and rental fees charged to users of its airport and marine facilities on St. Thomas, St. Croix, and St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. The agency is expected to be financially self-sufficient, and does not receive nor does it contribute any funds to the USVI government. Federal and state government grants are given to the Authority to support its capital construction programs - provided that VIPA meets all eligibility requirements. The federal government also offers Passenger Facility Charges (PFCs) to fund airport projects only. These airport-related improvements must be approved by the Federal Aviation Administration.
Just about everything that is used or consumed by the residents of the U.S. Virgin Islands enters the islands by boat or by plane. Food, clothing, machinery, mail, furniture, vehicles, building supplies, medical equipment - it all enters through the ports. Therefore, the Port Authority touches the lives of every single resident and visitor in the Virgin Islands. In addition, the territory's major economic contributor is a bustling tourism industry that blossomed in the 1960s. Tourism accounts for about 80 percent of the islands' gross domestic product and employment. The islands are a popular destination for travelers from every corner of the world seeking the perfect vacation. These key factors make the airports and seaports in the territory a critical component in the strength and growth of the islands' economy. Any investment or improvement to our port facilities secures our territory's economic future.
The Port Authority is governed by a Board of Governors which sets policy. The executive director is responsible for implementing these policies and overseeing the day-to-day operation of the agency. Board meetings are held every third Wednesday of each month. At these meetings, the board reviews the Authority's financial reports, review and approve requests to lease port property, award contracts for port development projects, and set policies that will efficiently manage our resources as well as keep our port facilities competitive with other destinations.
The VI Port Authority does not control the mooring and anchoring of vessels in our ports. This is coordinated through the VI Government's Department of Planning and Natural Resources.
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) owns and manages two airports – the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas and the Henry E. Rohlsen International Airport on St. Croix. The Port Authority also manages the majority of the public seaports in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its mandate is to promote the wise use of these facilities for the betterment of the Virgin Islands and its people and to assist the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands in fostering and sustaining sound economic development. To this end, the Port Authority is committed to:
Maintaining and developing the airports and seaports of the Virgin Islands to accommodate the current and future demands of its users;
Making sure that the airports and seaports are accessible to all qualified users;
Providing efficient and quality service to the public;
Providing a safe and secure environment at all of its port facilities;
Working with the government of the U.S. Virgin Islands on initiatives to attract tourists and private investors to the territory;
Fostering commerce by providing incentives to airlines, cruise ships, cargo operators and other potential investors to entice them to do business in the Virgin Islands;
Making sure that all of its facilities are in full compliance with local and federal regulations; and
Improving port facilities to keep up with modern technology.
As the gateways to the U.S. Virgin Islands, we aim to stimulate the territory's economy by facilitating travel and commerce via safe, modern, and innovative port facilities that meet the needs of today's travelers, aviators, and mariners.
Gateways to the U.S. Virgin Islands and its Economy