USVI hikes airport landing, pax fees 35%

ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands -- A 9% drop in air arrivals since last fall led the Virgin Islands Port Authority to hike landing and passenger fees by 35% at its airports in St. Croix and St. Thomas, effective Oct. 1.

VIPA executive director Gordon Finch said the measure is part of the Port Authority's 2003 fiscal year budget.

The per-passenger fee will increase to $3.50 from $2.59; aircraft fees will jump to $3.38 from $2.50 per 1,000 pounds of aircraft.

Even without the hike, airlines already pay higher rates to land in the USVI than in neighboring Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands.

Expected to be affected most by the increase are small regional carriers such as Cape Air, which has several daily flights between Puerto Rico and the USVI

The increased fees will be reflected in passenger ticket prices as they are now.

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