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JM | May 12, 2022

Flights grounded as Jamaican air traffic controllers take strike action

Gavin Riley

Gavin Riley / Our Today

administrator
Norman Manley International Airport.

A new impasse is brewing at the country’s two biggest airports today (May 12), hours after restive Government workers ended a stalemate that left millions of Jamaicans without potable water for 48 hours. 

Air traffic controllers (ATCs), on Thursday morning, abandoned their respective duties at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and the Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, which has brought travel into and out of the island to a standstill. 

Our Today was reliably informed, however, that both facilities remain open and operational.

In a tweet this morning, Robert Nesta Morgan, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibilty for information, further disclose that Jamaica’s airspace also remains open.

When contacted, MBJ Airports Limited, operators of the Donald Sangster International in St James, comfirmed that flights coming into and out of the second city have been affected by the ATC strike action. 

A representative of the airport operations department, who did not wish to be identified, chalked grounded flights up to “limited staffing”. 

A section of the lobby area at Montego Bay’s Sangster International Airport.

Our Today was similary told by a source in the airport operations department at the Norman Manley International that ‘staffing issues’ contributed to the disruption of flights. 

The representative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, directed our newsroom to the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA), who they said would be “better suited to answer your questions”.

In an internal note, unit manager at the NMIA Tower, Mark Phillips, informed colleagues of the air traffic controllers’ suspension of service and the implications thereof. 

Additionally, Phillips indicated that notice to air missions (NOTAM) to the effect will be submitted in “short order”. 

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