Robert Nesta Morgan, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for information, is today (May 12) claiming that the Government faces ‘billions’ in losses as a direct result of the ongoing strike by Jamaican air traffic controllers (ATCs).
Morgan, in a series of tweets on Thursday, reiterated that Jamaica’s airspace remains open though conceding thousands of flights into and out of the country have been affected.
“UPDATE: A lot of flights have been cancelled but we are trying our best to keep the skies open. We were to close at 10 am but management have been able to continue work (sic). We are not sure how long this will last. The cost to the economy is now approaching billions,” he said.
Some 12,000 persons are currently either stranded or unable to book flights, while another 30,000 tourists and locals were previously expected to arrive in Jamaica over the weekend, Morgan added.
The biggest challenge, according to the de facto minister, is determining how long the strike action will last, as the revenue losses mount.
In the meantime, Morgan also shared a communiqué from the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), which cited “challenges related to the provision of air traffic services in Jamaica’s flight information region (FIR).”
The JCAA management, assuming air traffic control as workers abandoned their duties in protest, is working to fully resume services in the “shortest possible time”.
See statement below:
“The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) wishes to advise the public and its industry stakeholders that it is currently experiencing challenges related to the provision of Air Traffic Services in Jamaica’s Flight Information Region (FIR).
The JCAA is in contact with all concerned parties, and is working assiduously to ensure the resumption of services in the shortest possible time.
The JCAA assures the public of its continued and unwavering commitment to safe and efficient industry operations and will provide an update at the earliest opportunity.”
Flights at the island’s two biggest airports—Norman Manley International and Donald Sangster International—ground to a halt in Kingston and Montego Bay respectively this morning.