Comments & News

Region: CAR(II)

Country: Puerto Rico

City: Aguadilla

ICAO: TJBQ

Airport Name: Rafael Hernández

Aircraft: LJ45XR

Feedback: “This was my 5th tech stop and as always the service provided by COPECA and crew was excellent. Total turn around time was: 45 minutes. Give COPECA a try and I am certain you will be as pleased as I was.”

Reporter: B.S.

Telephone: 910.389.3940

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Region: CAR(11)

Country: Puerto Rico

City: Aguadilla

ICAO: TJBQ

Airport Name: Rafael Hernández

Aircraft: F900EX

Feedback: “Tech stop here at TJBQ. Used COPECA for services. Very polite and helpful, and refueling was expeditious.”

Reporter: J.H.

Telephone: 914.989.2301

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Region: CAR (II)

Country: Puerto Rico

City: Aguadilla

ICAO: TJBQ

Airport Name: Rafael Hernández

Aircraft: Sovereign C680

Feedback: Copeca Inc. did a flawless job of handling tech stops for us to and from SBEG. Quick turns, helped arrange Saturday Customs & Agriculture inspections, very fair fees and fuel price, also had catering for return stop. President & CEO, Mr. Celso Lopez, Rosa and Michelle looked after us very well and made the stops for the crew and our 8 pax very pleasant with no surprises. Just let them know the details and request prior and they will see that you have a great stop. Customs was very through, as they should be, but also very professional and efficient. Copeca, Inc. phone is 787-890-1250. I have many times been through TJSJ which is very busy, and times overloaded, TJBQ is what you wish for a tech stop to be.

Reporter: R.K.

Telephone: 405 680 5959

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Region: CAR (II)

Country: Puerto Rico

City: Aguadilla

ICAO: tjbq

Airport Name: Rafael Hernández

Aircraft: LJ45XR

Feedback: once again rosa nad her crew @ copeca did a great job with our quick turn. There is no int’l airline traffic so “no worry” about getting stuck behind a few hundred people @ customs. It is “easy in/out” with a great gas price. Paid $ 2.65/gal out the door then it was nonstop back to home base. Preaarraangements necessary especially on weekends as u.s.d.a. takes sat/sun off. Do yourself and passengers a favor and avoid the San Juan horror stories. Give Roas a cal @ 787-890-1250

Reporter: R.K.

Telephone: 9103893940

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Region: CAR (II)

Country: Puerto Rico

City: Aguadilla

ICAO: TJBQ

Airport Name: Rafael Hernández

Aircraft: HAWKER 800A

Feedback: “Borinquen, where have you been all my life?” Stopped at TJBQ on Marth 5th for customs. This is Salina, KS in Puerto Rico. Copeca arranged for off-hours customs and USDA on a Sunday. A vehicle led us to customs. Everyone was standing on the ramp when we arrived. We fueled, cleared and were out of there block out in 31 minutes, crew only no pax. This blows San Juan out of the water. Hope all my customs stops will be at TJBQ from now on. Although they do not have a tower or ASOS, they have a weather observation issued by San Juan approach.

TOUCHING BASES FBO PROFILE: FBO PROVIDES A FUEL STOP FOR SOUTHBOUND U.S. PILOTS

AINonline: Aviation News

 

November 2007 by Matt Thurber

November 5, 2007, 10:35 AM

 

Pilots looking for an alternative for clearing U.S. Customs on the way back from southern destinations will find a useful one at Rafael Hérnandez Inter-national Airport in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. Aguadilla is located on the northwest corner of Puerto Rico’s Porta del Sol coast, and Rafael Hérnandez is a convenient and low-cost fuel stop for trips to and from the Caribbean and Latin America.

 

Early last month jet-A was $3 a gallon at FBO Copeca Jet Center, including all taxes. Copeca’s trucks can deliver fuel to aircraft parked on the customs ramp, according to Celso López, president and CEO. U.S. Customs clearance is much easier, too, because there is no airline traffic at Rafael Hérnandez so pilots and passengers don’t have to stand in line with huge numbers of passengers to clear customs as they do at Puerto Rico’s main airport in San Juan. Pilots who provided feedback to NBAA’s international operations Web site ex-pressed disappointment with the hassle of clearing customs at San Juan’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and praised the simpler process available at Rafael Hérnandez.

At Rafael Hérnandez the only significant traffic is cargo carriers, which frequent the airport in the early evening. Copeca Jet Center can turn around a business jet in about an hour, according to López, including customs, immigration and refueling. “Once people come here and do customs, they are enchanted.”

 

López, a former U.S. Army Reserves petroleum officer, was in the fuel business at Rafael Hérnandez for many years and at first didn’t see the opportunity business-jet traffic offered. After attending the NBAA Convention in Dallas in 1997, López quickly learned that there was more to aviation than airlines. “I realized that to sell more fuel, I had to go into the FBO business,” he said. “It’s a lot more interesting and glamorous than the fuel business. To sell the fuel, I could not just wait for people to land here and try to sell to them, I had to drum up business."

 

Three years ago López and his partners leased at Rafael Hérnandez a hangar that was about to be demolished and fixed it up. “Business has slowly but surely been increasing,” he said. A year ago, one to two business jets a month used the airport; now it gets an average of three to four jets a week. “I would like to increase that to three or four per day,” he said. “I’m trying to develop this airport and FBO as a tech stop market between Latin America and the U.S.” On July 7, a contract FAA tower opened at Rafael Hérnandez Airport. Runway 8/26 is 11,702 feet long and the airport is served by GPS and VOR approaches.

 

Copeca Jet Center has a 16,000-sq-ft hangar that can accommodate jets up to the size of the Gulfstream G200 and a 36,000-sq-ft ramp. The FBO also operates the airport’s general aviation terminal. Copeca’s fuel farm holds 55,000 gallons of jet-A and 12,000 gallons of avgas.

 

Handling fees range from $100 to $400, depending on the size of the airplane and number of passengers, but the FBO charges the fee only if customers need assistance clearing customs on the way back to the U.S. mainland. For an ordinary outbound fuel stop, there are no handling fees, although parking fees are assessed for overnights. Copeca Jet Center’s 15 employees operate the FBO from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. and are available on-call at other times. Maintenance is provided by Copeca tenant Aero Mech, which isn’t a repair station but serves airline and general aviation customers using A&P technicians.

 

Pilots who can spend some time in Aguadilla will find that the Porta Del Sol offers memorable vacation experiences. Within walking distance of Copeca Jet Center is the former Ramey AFB golf course, now called Punta Borinquen Golf Course, which features cliff-side fairways and greens. Some of the best surfing spots–including Gas Chamber, Table Top and Survivor–are a five-minute drive away.