(JamaicaObserver)ST JAMES, Jamaica – Transport Minister Daryl Daz on Thursday expressed discontent with the temporary closure of the runway at Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay, St James and has ordered a full investigation into the series of events that led to several delayed and cancelled flights.
“No effort will be spared to ensure that this mishap does not reoccur,” Vaz stated.
On Thursday morning, MBJ Airports Limited, the operators of the airport in a statement said the runway was temporarily closed due to issues with the ongoing construction work.
“The decision was made in order to prioritise the safety of all operations. At the moment, we are collaborating closely with all parties involved to expedite the reopening of the runway as soon as it’s confirmed to be safe,” MBJ Airports Ltd said.
The Reggae Girlz were among the scores of travellers who had their flights delayed.
As a result, several flights were diverted to the Norman Manley International Airport (NMIA) in Kingston. This led to a swift cross-ministry, multi-agency response which saw the mobilisation of the Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), the Jamaica Customs Agency (JCA) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
“Additonal staff were deployed by PICA to process passengers who were diverted to the NMIA as part of efforts to avoid further delays upon transfer to Montego Bay. Some passengers were transported by air while others were moved by buses with the assistance of the JCF to back to the airport in Montego Bay,” the Ministry of Science, Energy, Telecommunications and Transport (MSETT) said, adding that the closure was due to inclement weather, which affected upgrading work being carried out at the airport, as well as equipment failure.
Against this background, Vaz has instructed the MBJ Airports Limited, Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority and the Airports Authority of Jamaica provide a detailed report of the events.
The Sangster International Airport has since been reopened and is accommodating air traffic for the remainder of the day and is expected to back to normal operations tomorrow, Friday, August 11, the MSETT said.