The Minister of Transport and Mining, Lester ‘Mike’ Henry, is assuring the Nation and the International Community that Jamaica’s airspace is safe. Minister Henry’s assurance comes against the background of previous statements attributed to the Jamaica Air Traffic Controllers Association suggesting, that Aircraft were avoiding Jamaica’s airspace because of faulty operational equipment being used by Air Traffic Controllers. The Government is moving swiftly to replace obsolete equipment with State of The Art Communications, Navigation and Surveillance infrastructure and Technologies over a 21 month period. The process is well underway to the completion of phase one.
Minister Henry says he has been advised that the almost 50 percent reduction in revenue earned from the utilization of Jamaica’s airspace in February, was due to a number of factors including industrial action by the Air Traffic Controllers, which forced the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority to implement Flow Control Procedures. This significantly increased separation time between aircraft.
According to Minister Henry, in a just in time world this kind of operation is unacceptable to both passengers and business operators in the airline industry. He says reports reaching him suggest that the situation has improved significantly and revenues are almost back to normal. He says he is in full support of the actions being taken by the JCAA to correct the problems being experienced by the Air Traffic Controllers. He also lauded the Air Traffic Controllers for their deep and abiding interest in the safety of those whom they serve.
Minister Henry says he is also aware of issues relating to compensation that are outstanding and that are also high on the agenda for the Air Traffic Controllers. He has met with them and is in the process of initiating discussions with the Ministry Of Finance to resolve the issue in the shortest possible time.
Minister Henry says team work is always of great value in any enterprise and he wants the Air Traffic Controllers to work closely with the Jamaica Civil Aviation Authority to resolve any future issue that might arise. He is also willing to be the facilitator of any such dialogue