Jamaica’s Airports Reopen Following One-Day Strike; Thousands of Pax Still Affected

File photo of MBJ; Sangster Int'l Airport in Montego Bay, Jamaica
File photo

Local media reports Friday 13MAY that striking Jamaican airport workers are back on the job after a one-day strike Thursday that paralyzed air traffic in the country.

Reports say over 10,000 pax were affected by the job action by the country’s air traffic controllers. When they walked off the job at apparently all of Jamaica’s airports, it effectively closed Jamaican air space for the duration.

The Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association (JATCA) clarified the job action was unrelated to ongoing wage negotiations. Rather, the issue was concern over Jamaica’s new radar system.

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The issue appears to have been resolved following a meeting between JACTA and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCCA). According to local media, the JCAA said late Thursday that  “employees were briefed on the protocols for the newly provided radar services, and would resume duties immediately using the new instructions.”

The incident came to an official close Thursday evening when a Ministry of Tourism official announced that normal airport operations would resume.

According to the Jamaican government, tourism officials “were in constant contact with local and international stakeholders, including the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority, the airlines, tour operators, travel agents, and hoteliers.”

The government estimates that the one-day shut down of Jamaica’s airports cost Jamaica’s recovering industry “millions of US dollars.”

“We have over 40 commercial passenger flights cancelled for our international airports in Montego Bay and Kingston. The impact is therefore quite significant,” Delano Seiveright, senior advisor and strategist at the Ministry of Tourism, told the Jamaica Observer.

Airport and tourism officials are advising inbound and outbound pax to contact their airlines to confirm operations and schedules before going to the airport as the backlog clears Friday and through the weekend.

Lynn Elmhirst

With a background in broadcast news and travel lifestyles TV production, Lynn is just as comfortable behind or in front of the camera as she is slinging words into compelling stories at her laptop. Having been called a multi-media ‘content charmer’, Lynn’s other claim to fame is the ability to work 24/7, forgoing sleep until the job is done. Documented proof exists in a picture of Lynn at the closing celebrations of an intense week, standing, champagne in hand - sound asleep. That’s our kind of gal.

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