VIPA to Implement Temporary Nightly Closure of CEKA Runway

Construction of Taxiway Alpha West at the Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas. (Photo courtesy VIPA)

The Virgin Islands Port Authority’s contractor is preparing to begin the final phase of the resurfacing of the western portion of Taxiway Alpha at the Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA) on St. Thomas, the agency announced.

The contractor will be connecting Taxiway Alpha West to the airport’s only runway. This work will require a nightly hard closure of the CEKA Runway 10/28 on the following dates and times:

  • Feb. 12 — Feb. 25, from 9 p.m. until 5 a.m. 
  • Feb. 26 — March 26, from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

No aircraft will be allowed to land or depart from CEKA during the closure. VIPA Executive Director Carlton Dowe said he does not expect the nightly closures to affect normal operations or flights at CEKA. However, late-night interisland charter flights between St. Thomas and St. Croix will not be possible during the time the King Airport is closed, according to the press release.

All airlines that serve the King Airport, other airport users, and locally based medical evacuation service providers have been notified of this closure. All commercial flights will leave the airport before the nightly construction begins, the press release stated.

In the event of an emergency, special arrangements can be made through the airport manager’s office by calling 340-774-5100. Runway 10/28 at the Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix will also remain open and available while the construction and nightly runway closures at the Cyril E. King Airport are ongoing, the release stated.

VIPA began this taxiway rehabilitation project at CEKA in April 2023. The project involves the removal of 58,000 square yards of asphalt from the taxiway. The asphalt is being replaced with Portland cement concrete, which provides a smoother and safer surface area, has better durability than asphalt, and requires less maintenance. The existing light-emitting diode system on the airfield is also being upgraded, according to the release.

Runway expected to be complete by April. (Photo courtesy VIPA)

VIPA awarded this project to Grace Civil LLC. The project is estimated to cost $29.9 million – 90 percent of which is funded via a grant from the Federal Aviation Administration and VIPA funds the remaining 10 percent of the project. VIPA expects the work to be completed by April, it said.

“The asphalt on Taxiway Alpha West was over 30 years old. CEKA receives almost three times more traffic and larger, heavier aircraft than when the airport was built 30 years ago. This temporary nightly closure of the runway is necessary to complete these critical repairs that will provide an efficient and safe airfield for all airport users,” said Dowe.