The disruptions and administrative issues that rattled Jamaica’s air traffic on Thursday morning (May 12) have been resolved, according the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), which issued an update to partners last night.
Following a turbulent day that reportedly left some 10,000 travellers in limbo after air traffic controllers went on strike, effectively closing Jamaica’s air space, air carriers resumed operations into Montego Bay’s Sangster and Kingston’s Norman Manley international airports Friday morning at 7 a.m. local time, the JTB said.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the relevant authorities that worked diligently to resolve these matters as quickly as possible,” the JTB wrote to its partners. “Please accept our sincere apologies once again for the inconvenience to you and your clients by earlier flight cancellations.”
Local news reports say the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCCA), yesterday afternoon, issued a statement saying that employees were briefed on protocols for new radar services, and would resume duties immediately using the new instructions.
The Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA) noted that the strike had nothing to do with wage issues, reports say.
However, according to the Jamaica Star, workers have been in a dispute with the Ministry of Finance for the last three months, owing to a fallout in salary negotiations.
By Thursday night, MBJ Airports Limited, which operates Sangster International in Montego Bay, reported that air traffic had been restored.
Yesterday, Delano Seiveright, senior advisor and strategist at Jamaica’s Ministry of Tourism, told the Jamaica Observer that normal flight operations will resume.
The impact of the strike reportedly cost the local economy “millions of U.S. dollars” in losses, Seiveright said.
“We have over 40 commercial passenger flights cancelled for our international airports in Montego Bay and Kingston. The impact is therefore quite significant,” he was quoted as saying.
Inbound and outbound passengers are still being advised to contact their airlines to confirm their flights.