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Mercedita Airport is a commercial airport located three miles (5 km) east of the central business district of Poncemarker, Puerto Rico. The airport covers and has one runway. Passenger movement at the airport in FY 2008 was 278,911, an astounding 1,228% increase over fiscal year 2003 and the highest of all the regional airports for that 5-year period. As of November 15, 2009, negotiations were underway to transfer control of the airport from the Puerto Rico Ports Authority to the Ponce municipal government. It was inaugurated as an international airport on November 1, 1990.


The history of the airport dates back to the mid 1800s when the Serrallés family established and developed a successful business harvesting and refining cane sugar called Hacienda Merceditamarker. The Serralles sugar cane Mercedita plantation virtually became a company town, and eventually had its own post office, rail line, workers' housing, transportation fleet, commissary, and private air strip. This private air strip developed into what would become Ponce's Mercedita Airport.

During its 1970s heydays, Mercedita used to receive Lockheed L-1011 jets from Eastern Air Lines and DC-10 jets from American Airlines from the United Statesmarker. It also had extensive domestic service by Prinair each day.

The bigger airlines and jets eventually left, but Prinair kept on flying there until it ceased operations in 1984. Eastern Air Lines then returned in 1985, with their smaller planes flying under the banner name Eastern Metro Express flying several times daily from Eastern's San Juanmarker hub. American Airlines followed suit soon, also flying smaller planes under the name of American Eagle once the San Juanmarker airport became a hub for American, too.

The US Air Force 32nd Fighter Squadron at Mercedita Airport during World War II
the 1990s, jets returned briefly, with American starting Airbus A300 service from Newarkmarker, and Continental Airlines also flying from Newark, on Boeing 757s. Carnival Air Lines operated the first intra-Puerto Rican jet service to Mercedita during the 1990s also, flying Boeing 727's, and Airbus A300 from Rafael Hern√°ndez Airportmarker in Aguadillamarker, in addition to service from New Yorkmarker, and Newark, New Jersey. Vieques Air Link has also offered service there.

Recent Events

After Ponce's mayor Rafael Cordero signed a contract to build a major seaportmarker in the area, Mercedita's directors decided to expand the airport's runway to 8,000 feet to accommodate anticipated growth in airline traffic.

On June 17, 2005, JetBlue Airways began daily, non-stop service between John F. Kennedy International Airportmarker in New Yorkmarker and Mercedita Airport. Shortly after this announcement, Continental Airlines also commenced non-stop service from Newark Liberty International Airportmarker and Ponce. This service ended on January 17, 2008. On June 3, 2006, Delta Connection began servicing the airport, with twice-weekly, regional jet service to Atlanta, Georgiamarker. The service ended on January 20, 2007. JetBlue has also added daily, non-stop service between Ponce and Orlando International Airportmarker.

During 2007, more passengers passed through the airport than the population of the entire city of Ponce itself. "Ponce's Mercedita airport served 251,000 passengers in 2007, an increase of 28 percent over the previous year." Its runway possibly will also be increased by 4,000 feet due for completion in 2010.


On June 24, 1972, Prinair Flight 191, which took off from Luis Mu√Īoz Mar√≠n International Airportmarker in San Juan, Puerto Ricomarker, crashed while attempting to land at Mercedita Airport.

Airlines and destinations

Realtime departures and arrivals information is available online.


  1. Transfer of operations from PPPA to Municipal GovernmentRetrieved November 15, 2009.
  2. Municipality of Ponce website
  3. 28% increase in passenger traffic
  4. Increase runway by 4,000 feet
  5. Our Airport-Ponce's Mercedita Airport Retrieved Novemebr 29, 2009.

See also


External links

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