24 Sep PNP SAYS MINISTER HENRY IS MISLEADING THE PUBLIC ON AIR TRAFFIC SYSTEM
Kingston, Jamaica, September 19, 2017: The Opposition Spokesman on Transport, Mikael Phillips is accusing the Minister of Transport and Mining, Hon. Michael Henry of misleading the country on the full resumption of Jamaica’s air traffic services for the Norman Manley International Airport and the Sangster International Airport as well other flight using Jamaican airspace.
The Opposition spokesman said both the Minister and the Chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority gave assurances last week, and again today (September 19th, 2017), that normalcy would return. However, from all indications, there is no consensus on when the system would be fully operational. A statement over the weekend from Kurt Solomon, representing the views of air traffic controllers who operate system, it will take another two weeks to bring the facility to full operation.
Mr. Phillips said despite the assurances given by Minister Henry and the chairman of the JCCA, flights were still being restricted to 7.00a.m. to 11.00p.m. This, he said, was not in keeping with the Minister’s assurance to the country.
Today’s announcement of a full resumption does not remove the uncertainty and doubt because all previous announcements have not been realised.
The Opposition Spokesman said he was again calling on the Minister to tell the country definitively the precise status of both the navigational and communication services. He is also repeating his call for an investigation into the closure of Jamaica’s airspace for more than 24 hours in the first instance, effectively shutting down all arrivals and departures of aircraft and the continuing instability with the service. Mr. Phillips said the investigation should be independent to ensure transparency and confidence of the people.
Further, Phillips says a reliable back-up system must be put in place to ensure that our air traffic navigation and communications infrastructure are able to resume its function in reasonable time, should it be affected by lightning or any other debilitating circumstances in the future. He said part of the focus going forward should entail a complete overhaul of the air navigation and communications system and the appropriate redundancies should to be effected.
The Minister and the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA), Phillips says, should quickly provide the investigative report so the country will have a detailed explanation of the closure as Jamaica’s civil aviation status has suffered reputational damage from this long delay in service resumption.
The Minister should remember that Jamaica plays a vital role in regulating air traffic in the region and in particular the corridors from the southern rim of the USA to Central and South America, and the rest of the Caribbean.