Air traffic control shuts down in Jamaica, stranding passengers

(CNN) — Air website traffic manage came to a end for components of Thursday early morning and afternoon in Jamaica, forcing flight cancellations and leaving 1000’s of frustrated passengers stranded there or unable to reach the Caribbean island.

MBJ Airports Confined, the operator of Sangster Worldwide Airport in the vicinity of the well-known vacation resort place of Montego Bay, confirmed in a information release to CNN that flights have been canceled on Thursday morning “owing to the suspension of air targeted visitors products and services.”

The airport’s arrivals board started off exhibiting cancellations all around 9:30 a.m. regional time on May well 12. The departures board also setting up submitting cancellations all-around 10:30 a.m.

American, Delta, JetBlue, Southwest and United flights were being canceled, among many others.

It was a very similar story at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, the money metropolis. Arrivals started out staying canceled close to 11:30 a.m., and departures were being canceled starting off at 12:19 p.m.

Kurt Solomon, president of Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association, told CNN that flights have been resuming as of 5 p.m. regional time on May possibly 12.

Robert Nesta Morgan, minister with out portfolio with accountability for info in the Business office of the Key Minister, posted a news release on his Twitter account confirming that flights were being resuming.

“The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) wishes to suggest the public that, as dialogue progresses among the Authority and its important stakeholders, specially the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Affiliation (JATCA), air targeted traffic companies are at this time getting restored,” the release reported.

Given that that time, Sangster confirmed one departure, Delta Flight DL1987 at 5:07 p.m. Manley confirmed a person arrival, British Airways Flight BA2263 at 4:43 p.m.

Limited staffing

Sharon Hislop, supervisor of commercial enhancement and promoting at Sangster, explained to CNN that the airport was notified Thursday early morning that the air traffic command heart in Kingston didn’t have ample guidance for air website traffic because of “confined staffing.”

The JCAA then decided to suspend air visitors solutions and flights, Hislop explained.

The air targeted visitors manage centre in Kingston controls operations for all three worldwide airports in Jamaica: Sangster, Manley and Ian Fleming Worldwide Airport in Ocho Rios.

CNN Journey attained out to the JCAA for remark by means of e mail and cellphone on Thursday afternoon but had not been given a reply as of 8 p.m. ET.

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

Travellers are proven stranded in Montego Bay, Jamaica, on Might 12, 2022.


Hislop believed there have been about 100 travellers on every single flight impacted by the suspension of solutions.

Shops at the airport have been established to continue to be open up into the night as some passengers were being anticipated continue to be at Sangster right away, Hislop explained to CNN.

Regional media referred to the situation as a strike, even though no officers contacted by CNN confirmed that was the case.

“That is what we have been hearing, but we can not know for guaranteed,” Hislop claimed when questioned no matter if a strike by air site visitors controllers led to the minimal staffing that in flip led to suspension of flights.

Solomon claimed “a contingency group” that was functioning Thursday early morning at the Kingston Air Website traffic Handle Heart was unable to keep on and that team stopped. Solomon was not able to say why they stopped operating.

The contingency workforce is built up of administration staff for air traffic controllers.

Solomon also explained to CNN there have been persistent products challenges at the Kingston Air Targeted traffic Regulate Center, and they have been ongoing for a number of several years.

Passenger frustrations

Justin Novak explained to CNN he was traveling from Toronto to Montego Bay on Thursday when his flight was turned close to 30 minutes just before landing.

Novak says that the pilots did not say a lot except that they were compelled to turn about.

“It was a tense return residence. Blended reactions but the greater part visibly upset,” Novak reported.

Novak was headed to Jamaica for an eight-day holiday with his wife. He’ll now shed two of the times because of the delays, he reported.

“What I will not have an understanding of Is seemingly they realized this was going on but even now let us board the aircraft.=,” Novak extra. “We are rescheduled for 12 p.m. tomorrow [Friday, May 13], but who appreciates what will come about.”

Erin Fletcher Langen also hit challenges on Thursday as she was traveling from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Jamaica for do the job.

She was on a layover in Atlanta when the troubles started. Her flight was delayed, then canceled and then there was hope when officials instructed them that Sangster (MBJ) reopened. Then it was officially canceled again.

“It was a roller coaster of feelings. When they explained MBJ was opening, absolutely everyone cheered and clapped. When they reported it was canceled (all over again), folks weren’t always mad, but sad. Men and women had been crying.” Fletcher Langen claimed.

She said persons at the airport had been expressing how they haven’t traveled in a very long time and a large amount of people have been touring for weddings.

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

Waivers supplied

American Airways, which experienced additional flights impacted at Sangster than any other airline, issued a waiver for modify fees to affected travellers.

“Owing to air traffic servi
ce disruptions impacting air journey in Jamaica, Delta has issued a travel waiver  for those whose journey may possibly be impacted concerning May well 12-13,” it stated on its information web-site.

“This waiver makes it possible for the fare distinction for consumers to be waived when rebooked vacation takes place on or before May well 16, 2022 the exact cabin of assistance as originally booked.”

You really should check with your carrier if your flight was disrupted.

Prime picture: A standard check out of Norman Manley Worldwide Airport from 2016. (Henry Romero/Reuters)