Spotlight on Andres Fernandez
Director of La Romana Port & Airport
HOW DID YOUR PORT & AIRPORT STORY BEGIN?
I joined the company in September 2016 to work at the cruise port, coming from cruise tour operations in Santo Domingo & Samana. At that time the Casa de Campo’s Activities Department was running the tours program at the port and the company decided to create a port-based Tour Operation Department to manage the turnaround operations, the tours program and the pre & post cruise stays so this was my first role at the company.
Within the next 6 years the Tour Ops Dpt got well fixed with a great team so our operation run that smooth & effective that La Romana Cruise Port was awarded as best Caribbean Turnaround Port so cruise lines very well valued the unique & great combination of a private port and a close private airport, owned by the same company, managed by the same team and led by the same Director.
In 2012 the highway connecting La Romana with Punta Cana / Bavaro area was open so it was a perfect time & opportunity to create a Commercial Department at the airport to increase the traffic. Due to the experience I got by working for Spanish airline Air Europa in Puerto Plata for some years and the strong relationship between both airport & port businesses, the company asked me to move to the airport so I am now 6+ years working at both facilities commercial role.
WHAT IS THE MOST REWARDING THING ABOUT YOUR ROLE AS A COMERCIAL DIRECTOR OF LA ROMANA AIRPORT AND PORT?
For sure the most rewarding satisfaction is seeing how the port and the airport are growing in business because of the support of our company and the passion that both Teams put in the job, making the most of the synergies with our colleagues at Casa de Campo, Altos de Chavon and La Marina to become much better & different than our competition. Each & every day brings new targets, new opportunities and new challenges so our time is never monotone and we’re never bored: I just love my job!.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF WHEN IT COMES TO AIRPORT AND PORT THAT IT OFFERS TO GUESTS?
Both the airport and the port are service-oriented companies so pride comes when we serve well our clients, this service brings satisfaction and better operations for both air & cruise lines and the company overall business grows.
In 2009 we saw the need for increasing the port facilities & services but at that time we had a seasonal, winter operation only. We saw the need of a year-round operation as the target to afford a port improvement so we just visited all cruise lines and in 2010 we had the support of Carnival Cruise Lines, which still have a year-round operation at La Romana Port. Since that time, together again with the support our colleagues at Casa de Campo, Altos de Chavon and La Marina we are continuously increasing & improving the port area and its facilities & services so we can proudly say that La Romana has a beautiful & very operative cruise port in a great destination, all oriented to provide Great Experiences to our guests.
Same at the airport: we studied the business and saw a first good opportunity at the Eastern Europe markets, worked hard on it and today we proudly are the largest DR destination airport for Russia & Ukraine markets.
Once this target is achieved our efforts are now clearly focused in North America (USA & Canada) so we hope to have great news about it very soon!
ARE THERE ANY INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE AIRPORT THAT YOU CAN SHARE?
Maybe not many people knows that the first commercial airport built by the company was located at actual Casa de Campo’s Punta Aguila area. American Airlines & American Eagle were operating flights from Miami, Puerto Rico, etc. but as aircrafts became larger the airport’s runway became short, so new facilities were needed. A future development project at Cacata area, north of Casa de Campo, was chosen as the best location for the new LRM airport construction and time has confirmed that this was a very smart decision.
An important fact for the airport traffic growth is the destination development; rather than ethnic, we are in a leisure-oriented destination so by developing the destination and its tourism businesses we’d create the need for more flights. That’s why we are now fully involved with both the La Romana – Bayahibe Hotels Association and the Tourism Cluster, to create the perfect conditions to attract the attention of investors, to build more hotel rooms that will need more flights to be occupied. This initiative is working very well and we are sure that good results will come in the very next future.
WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING RECENT DEVELOPMENT AT THE PORT?
As said before we are very proud of our cruise port because it perfectly fits for the two kinds of operations that a cruise line do while docked: a passengers embarkation & disembarkation call, set with a perfect turnaround operation combined with the airport, and the transit calls where passengers enjoy the many attractions of our awesome La Romana & Bayahibe destination as well as the many services & activities already offered at the port terminal as well as at Casa de Campo, Altos de Chavon and La Marina.
The company has greatly supported us to have a modern, well-equipped port as well as to continuously train our staff to combine the great facilities with a great service.
We hope you all at Casa de Campo share our love & passion for our cruise port, the airport and our great destination as we are sure that the best is yet to come!