Airports record increased traffic for 2015 - Sangster International sees historic figures
A five per cent growth in traffic at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, up from a one per cent net growth in 2014, signalled an upward trajectory, which the airport expects to continue.
Acting chief executive officer at the airport and president of the Airports Authority of Jamaica, Audley Deidrick, told The Gleaner it has been a good year, especially for the Christmas period.
"I would say we have been experiencing stepped-up traffic for the Christmas season. In fact, I would dare say, in terms of traffic, we have been experiencing a steady build-up since the start of this year," he said.
"It has been a good turn this year, compared to the last few years preceding. This year to date, our traffic has grown by five per cent. Normally, our growth projections would have been to the tune of two or three per cent. This is really a good signal of a turnaround taking place," the president said.
"Generally, I think we have more persons coming home. In 2014, the traffic grew by six per cent, coming from a seven per cent decline the previous year. Except for the last two years, we had experienced a steady downturn, so it's a good thing to be trending upwards again," he said.
He also pointed our news team to the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James, where he highlighted a historic occurrence, which took place on Tuesday.
"I want to extend the conversation to the Montego Bay airport as well, because they are also seeing a significant increase in traffic. The growth for this year is running at four per cent and [on Tuesday], they recorded the largest traffic pass-through in the history of the airport," he declared.
"That has been brought about due to the fact that they are now receiving cruise-ship passengers by aircraft. Fifty-five flights were processed Tuesday, of which 53 were regular commercial flights, and more than 14,000 passengers were processed. It's an enormous pass-through in a short period of time at that airport," Deidrick told The Gleaner.
He also gave credit to staff and other members of the management team, who, he said, have been doing an exceptional job in managing the influx.
"The good thing is that it is something that is expected to continue, and we are pleased. The staff and the management of the airport and other stakeholders such as PICA (Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency) and Customs, they all had to beef up their staffing levels and their arrangements for processing these passengers," he said.
"It was an awesome feeling to see the level of movement taking place in the airport - the organisation, facilitating passengers by providing extra water - and we are looking forward to greater things to come," he declared.