Mon | Sep 25, 2017

Record annual traffic at Sangster Airport

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 1:01 AM

Sangster International Airport (SIA) recorded more than 3.8 million in total passengers last year, the highest traffic on record for Jamaica's busiest airport.

Passenger traffic through the airport increased 4.5 per cent, representing an additional 170,000 travellers year on year. Sangster's previously racked up another record last December 22 when daily traffic reached a new peak of 15,000 passengers.

"The success of this season's operation is in large measure thanks to the efforts of all the different stakeholders, especially Jamaica's immigration and customs officials, who implemented efficient procedures for a more streamlined flow of passengers," said MBJ Airports CEO Rafael Echevarne.

The airport benefited from increased airlift, including new flights from American Airlines, Eurowings, Southwest Airlines, and Thomas Cook.

MBJ Airports Limited, the operator of Sangster International, is a partnership of Mexico-based Grupo Aeroportuario del Pacifico (GAP), which in 2015 acquired 74.5 per cent of the airport company from Spanish-based Abertis, and Vantage Airport Group Limited of Canada, which owns 25 per cent. MBJ has 30-year concession with the Government of Jamaica since 2003 to own and operate the airport.

"It's been our priority to ensure passengers are well looked after, hence the investment in additional customer-service agents and live entertainment to ensure their time at the airport is an enjoyable part of their experience in Jamaica," said Echevarne in a statement.

To facilitate the growing traffic, MBJ recently hired 20 more customer-service agents, installed bar code readers at the pre-screening security checkpoint, and enabled the use of electronic boarding passes.

screening checkpoint

MBJ has also reconfigured the screening checkpoint to accommodate an additional X-Ray machine, bringing the total to eight, in addition to the airport's seven metal detector arches. The airport operator also oversaw the elimination of an outbound immigration desk to facilitate the reconfiguration of the security screening area, while two new immigration positions were added in the immigration hall, increasing the total to 36.

Two lanes have been added in the customs hall for those with nothing to declare, increasing the total to seven, and signage has been improved throughout the airport.

Sangster's International is Jamaica's main gateway for tourism traffic and the largest airport.

steven.jackson@gleanerjm.com