Transport Minister wants more stringent oversight of Sangster International Airport following runway issues

Transport Minister Daryl Vaz has instructed more stringent oversight to ensure there is no recurrence of a runway closure at the Donald Sangster International Airport in St. James.

Mr. Vaz met on Sunday with key stakeholders in the aviation and tourism industries, following the closure of the runway last Thursday which resulted in several cancelled and diverted flights.

He said the aviation industry has no room for error and what transpired on Thursday is unacceptable.

There was also an incident last month which impacted operations at the Norman Manley International Airport, wherein a planned power shutdown went beyond the expected time.

The transport minister added that the situation at the two international airports, for different reasons, have left the Jamaican people concerned and the sector must work overtime to regain the confidence of customers.

The Airports Authority of Jamaica (AAJ), the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority (JCAA) and MBJ Airports Limited have given an account of the situation.

It was outlined that the closure was a matter of extreme caution to ensure the runway was safe for aircraft to operate.

This followed scheduled upgrade works which were delayed due to poor weather conditions.

Further to that, the minister instructed that a report must be requested from the contractors.

Directives were also given for the JCAA and AAJ to work with an independent team, led by the Chairman of the JCAA Colonel Oscar Darby, to undertake an operation safety audit and assessment of both airports by August 31.


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