Monday, May 16, 2022

Air traffic control shuts down in Jamaica, stranding passengers

(CNN) — Air traffic control got here to a cease for components of Thursday morning and afternoon in Jamaica, forcing flight cancellations and leaving hundreds of pissed off passengers stranded there or unable to succeed in the Caribbean island.

MBJ Airports Limited, the operator of Sangster International Airport close to the favored resort vacation spot of Montego Bay, confirmed in a information launch to CNN that flights had been canceled on Thursday morning “due to the suspension of air traffic services.”

The airport’s arrivals board began displaying cancellations round 9:30 a.m. native time on May 12. The departures board additionally beginning posting cancellations round 10:30 a.m.

American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United flights had been canceled, amongst others.

It was an identical story at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the capital metropolis. Arrivals began being canceled round 11:30 a.m., and departures had been canceled beginning at 12:19 p.m.

Kurt Solomon, president of Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association, advised CNN that flights had been resuming as of 5 p.m. native time on May 12.

Robert Nesta Morgan, minister with out portfolio with accountability for info in the Office of the Prime Minister, posted a information launch on his Twitter account confirming that flights had been resuming.

“The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) wishes to advise the public that, as dialogue progresses between the Authority and its key stakeholders, particularly the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), air traffic services are currently being restored,” the discharge stated.

Since that point, Sangster confirmed one departure, Delta Flight DL1987 at 5:07 p.m. Manley confirmed one arrival, British Airways Flight BA2263 at 4:43 p.m.

Limited staffing

Sharon Hislop, supervisor of economic growth and advertising and marketing at Sangster, advised CNN that the airport was notified Thursday morning that the air traffic control middle in Kingston did not have sufficient assist for air traffic due to “limited staffing.”

The JCAA then determined to droop air traffic providers and flights, Hislop stated.

The air traffic control middle in Kingston controls operations for all three worldwide airports in Jamaica: Sangster, Manley and Ian Fleming International Airport in Ocho Rios.

CNN Travel reached out to the JCAA for remark through e-mail and telephone on Thursday afternoon however had not acquired a reply as of 8 p.m. ET.

Passengers are shown stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on May 12, 2022.

Passengers are proven stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on May 12, 2022.


Hislop estimated there have been about 100 passengers on every flight affected by the suspension of providers.

Shops on the airport had been set to stay open into the evening as some passengers had been anticipated keep at Sangster in a single day, Hislop advised CNN.

Local media referred to the scenario as a strike, although no officers contacted by CNN confirmed that was the case.

“That’s what we’ve been hearing, but we can’t know for sure,” Hislop stated when requested whether or not a strike by air traffic controllers led to the restricted staffing that in flip led to suspension of flights.

Solomon stated “a contingency team” that was working Thursday morning on the Kingston Air Traffic Control Center was unable to proceed and that staff stopped. Solomon was unable to say why they stopped working.

The contingency staff is made up of administration personnel for air traffic controllers.

Solomon additionally advised CNN there have been persistent tools points on the Kingston Air Traffic Control Center, they usually have been ongoing for a number of years.

Passenger frustrations

Justin Novak advised CNN he was flying from Toronto to Montego Bay on Thursday when his flight was circled half-hour earlier than touchdown.

Novak says that the pilots did not say a lot besides that they had been pressured to show round.

“It was a tense return home. Mixed reactions but the majority visibly upset,” Novak stated.

Novak was headed to Jamaica for an eight-day trip along with his spouse. He’ll now lose two of the times due to the delays, he stated.

“What I don’t understand Is apparently they knew this was happening but still let us board the plane.=,” Novak added. “We are rescheduled for 12 p.m. tomorrow [Friday, May 13], but who knows what will happen.”

Erin Fletcher Langen additionally hit issues on Thursday as she was flying from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Jamaica for work.

She was on a layover in Atlanta when the issues began. Her flight was delayed, then canceled after which there was hope when officers advised them that Sangster (MBJ) reopened. Then it was formally canceled once more.

“It was a roller coaster of emotions. When they said MBJ was opening, everyone cheered and clapped. When they said it was canceled (again), people weren’t necessarily mad, but sad. People were crying.” Fletcher Langen stated.

She stated individuals on the airport had been saying how they have not traveled in a very long time and lots of people had been touring for weddings.

She stated she hopes to fly out on a rescheduled flight on Friday.

Waivers supplied

American Airlines, which had extra flights affected at Sangster than some other airline, issued a waiver for change charges to affected passengers.

“Due to air traffic service disruptions impacting air travel in Jamaica, Delta has issued a travel waiver  for those whose travel may be impacted between May 12-13,” it stated on its information web site.

“This waiver allows the fare difference for customers to be waived when rebooked travel occurs on or before May 16, 2022 the same cabin of service as originally booked.”

You ought to test together with your service in case your flight was disrupted.

Top picture: A basic view of Norman Manley International Airport from 2016. (Henry Romero/Reuters)

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