Mon | Dec 11, 2017

Jamaica's airspace open, Aviation Authority limits traffic

Published:Monday | September 11, 2017 | 12:18 PM
In this photo taken on Saturday at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston very little activity was observed at the check-in counters. The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority reported on Friday that lightning had damaged the radar communication system used by air traffic controllers.

The Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) says it will limit air traffic in the country's airspace as it completes repairs on the radar communication system that was damaged by lightning strikes.

The JCAA says air traffic in Jamaica's airspace is only being allowed between 7 in the morning and 7 in the evening.

Corporate Communications Manager at the JCAA, Ava Marie Ingram, says it is currently using a back up system to provide limited navigational services.

Last night's closure of the country's airspace is the second time in three days after the JCAA reported that a lightning strike damaged the radar communication system on Friday.

The interruptions to flights are already triggering concerns.

Chief executive officer of MBJ Airports Limited, the operators of the Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, Rafael Echevarne, says the airport's management is concerned about the likely impact the interruptions will have on flights into and out of the island's busiest airport.

Speaking with The Gleaner/Power 106 News Centre this morning, Echevarne said several flights were cancelled yesterday as a result of the closure of the airspace and the authorities have not given a formal explanation for the closure.

Meanwhile, Senior director of commercial development and planning at the Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), Alfred McDonald, says flight safety is important and ensuring that the country's air navigation equipment is functioning optimally is paramount.

McDonald says the JCAA has not given a timeline for repairing the equipment but he is hoping that it will be done soon so that there will be full restoration of air traffic.