Testing of a new luggage belt at the St. Thomas airport has begun, according to the Virgin Islands Daily News. Installation of two new luggage conveyors is being done at a cost of $600,000, mostly funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
(This photo is not of the new belt. It was taken earlier this year. Note that the belt is empty. Maybe it was broken when I snapped it.)
The baggage area at the airport is frequently a source of frustration and then anger. Several airplanes will arrive, overtaxing ground workers as well as which limping conveyor may (or may not have be) working. That delays people wanting to get the next ferry from Red Hook to Cruz Bay.
The Daily News said further improvements are planned at the airport, too. Architectural plans to expand restrooms and build a new food concession are expected by next month.
Attention to the airport’s rundown facilities is certainly welcome, and you can only hope it’s evidence the new Governor and his Tourism Department commissioner are already working on improving the first impression visitors get at the airport. Remember, it was just a few weeks ago that Berkeley Young, a tourism expert, complained that the VI’s welcome to visitors included little more than "a urine cup of (rum) punch.) Read his comments and listen to his podcasts here and here.