Jamaican Air Traffic Controllers Walk Out

Jamaican Air Traffic Controllers officially went on strike yesterday in an effort to get fellow employees properly trained for a new radar system that has been identified as dangerous. Outdated radar equipment is being used at Jamaica’s main airport, which has caused the caution flag.

At 1pm yesterday, air traffic controllers left their positions at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston and went on strike. Airport managers were left to pick up the pieces. Fortunately for them no flights were cancelled, but managers had to provide a skeleton staff to survive the walk out. Transport and Works Minister Robert Pickersgill met with air traffic controllers last night trying to broker a resolution.

The 30 striking employees will undoubtably affect all flights flying in and out of Donald Sangster International Airport in Montego Bay. A statement was issued yesterday referencing the strike: “Due to an ongoing and worsening problem with the radios and frequencies at the Kingston area control centre, that has been adversely affecting communication between pilots/aircraft operators and air traffic controllers at this unit, the JATCA (Jamaican Air Traffic Controllers Association) will be instructing its members to withdraw their services at this unit effective February 24, 2002 from 1:00 p.m.”

In all likelihood, if the strike continues today, there’s a possibility that flights could be cancelled.