|Mercedita Airport (IATA: PSE, ICAO: TJPS, FAA LID: PSE) is a small public airport located three miles (5 km) east of the central business district of Ponce, Puerto Rico. The airport covers 274 acres and has one runway.|
During its heyday, Mercedita used to receive Lockheed L-1011 jets from Eastern Air Lines and DC-10 jets from American Airlines from the United States. 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 Juan hub. American Airlines followed suit soon, also flying smaller planes under the name of American Eagle once the San Juan airport became a hub for American, too.
During the 1990s, jets returned briefly, with American starting Airbus A300 service from Newark, 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 Hernández Airport in Aguadilla, in addition to service from New York, and Newark, New Jersey. Vieques Air Link has also offered service there.
After Ponce's mayor Rafael Cordero signed a contract to build a major seaport 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 Airport in New York and Mercedita Airport. Shortly after this accouncement, Continental Airlines also commenced non-stop service from Newark Liberty International Airport and Ponce. On June 3, 2006, Delta Connection began servicing the airport, with twice-weekly, regional jet service to Atlanta, Georgia. The service ended on January 20, 2007. JetBlue has also added daily, non-stop service between Orlando International Airport and Ponce; and will add daily, non-stop service from Fort Lauderdale to Ponce on November 5, 2007.