HENRY E. ROHLSEN AIRPORT
Christiansted, St. Croix
United States Virgin Islands
The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport (HERA) is located about six miles southwest of Christiansted on St. Croix. HERA is served by two major domestic carriers, and also receives daily inter-island flights as well as cargo and military aircraft.
The airport terminal is open from 5:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aircraft, rescue and firefighting services are available during that time. The Air Traffic Control Tower operates from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The runway is open 24 hours.
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 were completed in 2002.
Domestic Airlines Servicing St. Croix (STX)
Inter-Island and Cargo Airlines Servicing St. Croix (STX)
MODERNIZING AND EXPANDING THE HERA TERMINAL
VIPA has begun the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport Terminal Expansion and Modernization Project as of September 2020. The improvements to the terminal will be completed in four phases over a six-year period.
Phase one entails 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 is estimated to cost $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 will take 18 months to complete.
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 is fully funded, VIPA is actively seeking funding sources for Phases 2 through 4. The project is estimated to cost a total of $140 million.
OUR AIRPORT'S HISTORY
The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport, St. Croix
Prior to the construction of the airport, the United States Army Air Forces Sixth Air Force stationed the 12th Bombardment Squadron (25th Bombardment Group) at an airfield in the area called Benedict Field for antisubmarine patrols flying B-18 Bolo aircraft from November 8, 1941 to November 10, 1942. A public airport terminal was built in Sept.1948 and named in honor of Alexander Hamilton - an American statesman and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States.
The airport was renamed by the VI Legislature in 1996 in honor of Virgin Islands aviator Henry Ernst Rohlsen (born on St. John, USVI) who 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 runway was extended from 7,600 feet to 10,004 feet in 2002.