Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX)
All operations are normal at HERA.
Redevelopment & Modernization of the USVI's Airports
The Virgin Islands Port Authority (VIPA) is embarking on an exciting new Public Private Partnership (P3) project modernizing and enhancing the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (HERA) on St. Croix and the Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA) on St. Thomas.
About the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport
The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (STX) is located about six miles southwest of Christiansted on St. Croix. HERA is served by two major domestic carriers and receives daily inter-island flights as well as cargo and military aircraft. The two-story terminal is 181,000 square feet and has 10 gates. The airport encompasses 1,455 acres which includes an asphalt runway measuring 10,004 x 150 feet. Construction of the present terminal and expansion of the runway from 7,600 to 10,000 feet was completed in 2002.
Hours of Operation
The airport terminal is open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aircraft rescue, and firefighting services are available during that time. Airline ticketing and federal services (such as U.S. Customs and TSA) may close earlier than the terminal closing time.
The Air Traffic Control Tower operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The runway is open 24 hours.
AIRLINE INCENTIVE PROGRAM: Any airline may apply for VIPA's incentive program if they intend to provide airlift via a new route or add flights on an existing route already served by the airline to the Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA) on St. Thomas or the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (HERA) on St. Croix, or provide flights to CEKA after 5 pm (Atlantic Standard Time). Landing fees are waived for one year, and terminal, arrival, and departure fees are reduced by 50% for a year.
Effective December 1, 2022 through November 30, 2024.
MODERNIZING AND EXPANDING THE HERA TERMINAL
VIPA started Phase One of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport Terminal Expansion and Modernization Project in September 2020 and completed this project in December 2021. Phase one entailed enclosing 5,500 square feet of walkway space to increase the seating capacity in the lounge; refurbishing the existing passenger lounge space and restrooms; enclosing the 1,100 square-foot open-air gardens with a new roof structure to provide additional concessions space, and upgrading the mechanical systems for the additional air-conditioned area.
Phase one cost approximately $8.6 million and was funded via a $7 million grant from the US Department of Commerce-Economic Development Administration in 2019 with a local match of $1.6 million from the VI Port Authority. The construction was anticipated to take 18 months and be completed in March 2022. However, the project was completed ahead of schedule in December 2021.
Phases two through four include the addition of a second level to accommodate jet bridges, additional hold room, concession, and retail space, improvement of passenger flow and baggage handling in the terminal; redesign, expansion, and modernization of the interior of the terminal to make the best use of the existing floor plan; the addition of vibrant, tropical landscaping, and changes to improve the flow of vehicular traffic. Expanding the terminal will allow St. Croix to take full advantage of its 10,000-foot runway.
While Phase 1 of the HERA Terminal Expansion was fully funded, VIPA is actively seeking funding sources for Phases 2 through 4. The project is estimated to cost a total of $150 million.
A Historical Account of the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport
St. Croix, United States Virgin Islands
The first airport on St. Croix was called Benedict Field, which was a World War II US Air Force Base, located across from the present-day airport. Between 1940 and 1943, the U.S. military acquired 2,633.42 acres in St. Croix. Benedict Field served as an auxiliary airfield for Borinquen Field in Puerto Rico. It was home to fighter and heavy bomber squadrons for aerial defense and submarine tracking in the Caribbean. The U.S. Army constructed housing and facilities for approximately 1,000 men, runways, roads, and utilities. The Army also constructed a practice bombing range southwest of the airstrip. One target was the Army Air Force Demonstration Bombing Target and the other was a dive bombing target.
A public airport terminal was built in Sept.1948 and named in honor of Alexander Hamilton - an American statesman and one of the United States Founding Fathers. The airport was renamed by the VI Legislature in 1996 in honor of Virgin Islands aviator Henry Ernst Rohlsen born in St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands. Rohlsen was one of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II, and the first black fighter pilot in the 99th squadron of the United States Air Corps. Rohlsen served as chairman and president of the National Airlines of Ecuador. He served two terms as a member of the Virgin Islands Legislature from 1945 through 1948, and as the Administrator for the island of St. Croix from 1969 to 1973. As president of the Caribbean Development Company from 1977 to 1979, Rohlsen is also heralded as the pioneer of the cruise port in Frederiksted, St. Croix (the Ann E. Abramson Marine Facility).
The Rohlsen Airport's terminal was expanded and completely renovated by the VI Port Authority in 2000, and the extension of the runway from 7,600 feet to 10,004 feet was completed in 2002.