This time frame doesn't surprise me at all. From the pictures that I have seen there has been substantial damage to this facility. Just think about the roof for example. The article states 75% of the roof sheathing and insulation has been damaged. The article also states that this roof damage has caused leaks and mold to develop.
Before any interior repairs and/or mold remediation work can begin this building must be “dried in”, which means that the water must be kept out. You cannot start to clean up the mold if the building is still “wet”. Therefore, the first step in the repair process is going to be to fix the roof and windows to keep the rain out. Both of the windows and roofing materials are going to be special order materials made specifically for that building. That means that somebody has to determine the extent of the damage, figure out the materials needed for the repair, then order the materials. In a perfect world, this process could easily take 2 to 4 weeks. Then once the materials are ordered they have to produced, this process could easily take 6 to 8 weeks. Then they have to be shipped to the island, maybe 1-2 weeks. After the materials are received it will probably take at least 4 to 8 weeks to perform the actual repairs. That all adds up to 13 to 22 weeks before the inside can even be started.
I don’t think the airport can be open to commercial air traffic until at least some of the interior work can be completed. Not to mention that work can’t even be started until after the building is “dried in” and will take many, many weeks after that to complete, especially with all of the technology in a building like this. Unfortunately, for those folks that think they will be able to arrive anytime in the near future to an operational terminal open to the public, I think that idea is pretty much a pipe dream. My guess is the 35 weeks is a pretty good estimation of a time line.
I’m not trying to bust anyone’s bubble, but rather help those folks with a realistic synopsis of the situation.