(Thursday, April 13, 2023 – Washington, D.C.) – This week, the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration (PRFAA), Luis D. Dávila, welcomed the Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Ports Authority (PRPA), Joel Pizá, to our Nation’s Capital to further expand the Island’s maritime and aerospace industries. As part of this visit, Executive Director Dávila joined Executive Director Pizá in meetings with the Maritime Administration’s (MARAD) Director of the Office of Port Infrastructure Development, Robert Bouchard, and members of the White House National Space Council.
Both agencies aimed to identify opportunities for developing Puerto Rico's port infrastructure and pinpoint potential areas for growth and investment in the aerospace field. They also emphasized the strategic value of Puerto Rico's location in the Caribbean as an innovative hub for advancing the aerospace industry.
“During these past years, we have seen the importance of investing in our ports and aerospace industries,” said Executive Director Dávila. “From our strategic location to our ties with the federal government, Puerto Rico has the potential to be at the forefront of these industries while also bolstering to drive economic growth and create more job opportunities on the island. I’m confident our efforts with the Puerto Rico Ports Authority and its Executive Director, Joel Pizá, will yield results for generations to come.”
Currently, Puerto Rico is awaiting a license from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to establish a spaceport in the José Aponte de la Torre Airport in the municipality of Ceiba forequipment manufacturing and horizontal launching. According to the Puerto Rico Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC, per its Spanish acronym), the aerospace industry has approximately 8,000 jobs on the island. In general, this industry is estimated to produce more than $1 trillion in economic activity by 2040.
Meanwhile, the Puerto Rico Ports Authority Executive Director, Joel Piza-Batiz, commented on the development of the spaceport in Ceiba that "it is a long-term project through which we seek to ignite the spark of what will be a thriving industry for Ceiba and for all of Puerto Rico soon. We are highly pleased with the progress of the work plan of this Council, considering that it is a novel issue for the government of Puerto Rico. In just one year we have been able to build a strategic work structure in an area of such potential worldwide. I thank PRFAA Executive Director Luis D. Dávila for his support in the mission of creating ties between the federal government and Puerto Rico, as well as Gretchen Sierra-Zorita, Associate Director for Puerto Rico and the Territories at the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs for her help on this meeting arrangements."
In April 2022, Governor Pierluisi created the Council for the Aerospace and Aeronautical Industry of Puerto Rico to study and recommend an integrated plan for research, development, and investment in the aerospace and aeronautics industry in Puerto Rico. By creating this council, which Executive Director Pizá chairs, the Government of Puerto Rico recognizes the direct impact of the aerospace industry as a tool for job creation, national security, and combating climate change.